The DeMarcus Cousins trade highlights another missed opportunity for the Brooklyn Nets.The Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans have come to terms on a trade that will send DeMarcus Cousins to the Big Easy in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a top-three protected 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-rounder.
The trade was finalized Sunday night, while Cousins and his new teammate, Anthony Davis, were putting the final touches on a 192-182 win over the Eastern conference in NBA All-Star Game.
Cousins, who was notified of the pending trade just moments into his post-game press conference interview, will provide the Pelicans with the another dominant front court presence, freeing Davis to play power forward, his preferred position. It has been long reported that the Pelicans were in search of a player to share the offensive load with Davis. The addition of Cousins, who is arguably the best center in the NBA, gives the Pelicans the best big man combo in the league. It also creates a big three of Cousins, Davis and Holiday that has the potential to rival the talent in Cleveland and Golden State.
The Kings, who are now entering a complete rebuild, will receive two key pieces they hope will be essential to their future. Buddy Hield is a player Kings GM Vlade Divac coveted in the 2016 NBA draft. Hield was selected with the sixth pick by the Pelicans, just two spots before the Kings selected Marquese Chriss, who was shipped to the Phoenix Suns in a draft day trade.
The Kings will also receive both of the Pelicans’ picks in the 2017 NBA draft. In a deep 2017 draft that is expected to include the likes of Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and Jayson Tatum, the Kings have the ability to bring in a player who has the potential to replace Cousins as the face of the franchise.
The big losers in the Kings-Pelicans blockbuster trade are the Brooklyn Nets.
Earlier reports indicated that the Pelicans were interested in pairing Nets big man Brook Lopez with Anthony Davis to fill their gap at center. According to Basketball Insiders, the trade was centered around Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier and a 2018 protected first-round pick.
Although the proposed package was less lucrative than the one received by the Kings, the Pelicans were the Nets’ the best option of moving Lopez before the trade deadline. There is now one less potential landing spot for Lopez in an already small group teams who have inquired about the former all-star’s services.
If the DeMarcus Cousins trade is any indication of the trade market for an all-star center, the Brooklyn Nets will have to reassess the value of their seven-foot big man.
Ultimately, the Nets must face the reality that their asking price of two first round draft picks is completely unreasonable. If the Nets are serious about moving Lopez, they will have to accept a trade package of picks and players that fall short of the value they originally set.