Sunday’s late night trade of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins shocked NBA fans! Though most thought he might be traded soon, no one thought it would be to the New Orleans Pelicans and for two role players at best and two picks, with only one of those picks being a 1st rounder. The Pelicans received a gift from the Kings, the type that changes the course of a franchise. It wasn’t that long ago many wondered if the Pelicans would be able to build a competitive team around or even be able keep their current young star Anthony Davis. Now they have two stars and look to establish their own version of the “Twin Towers”.
Here are a few of the trickle down effects this trade may have on the rest of the NBA:
ARE THE PELICANS CONTENDERS NOW?
Short term answer, no. Long term, yes they will be. Anytime you can acquire a 26 year old dominate All-Star to go with a 23 year old dominate All-Star, you’re going to become a contender. They now have 2 big men who will make things very uncomfortable for opposing teams every night. It will take time for them to gel and for the franchise to fill out the roster around them, but they now have two All-Stars to build around. We’ve seen in the past that veteran shooters are always willing to take a pay cut to play next to young All-Stars and this will be no different.
WILL COUSINS RE-SIGN IN NEW ORLEANS?
I believe he will. Despite ongoing issues in Sacramento before the trade, all indications were that he would re-sign a long term extension. The Pelicans now have the rest of this season and next to convince him that New Orleans is headed in the best possible direction for his career. Barring injury, I believe the Pelicans will be a playoff team this season and next, making it very difficult for him to leave. Sacramento was a mess with almost no plan in place to build around Cousins. His 7 seasons there were highlighted by terrible trades and disappointing draft picks. He gets a fresh start in New Orleans and in Davis gets the most talented teammate he’s had during NBA career. Cousins has never made the playoffs, so any success the Pelicans have over the next season and a half will make it hard for him to walk away.
HOW DOES THIS TRADE IMPACT THE REST OF THE NBA?
Oh, this trade will definitely impact and change the game plan of several teams. Teams with multiple draft picks and young assets had their sights set on trading for Boogie Cousins. Now they have to change course. The Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers were two of those teams looking to shake up their team by adding the All-Star. Now they’ll have to go in a different direction.
It will also change the course of free agency. The Pelicans were able to make this deal without sacrificing more than one 1st round pick and didn’t have to take on any bad contracts from the Kings. Now they can shift gears and try to re-sign Point Guard Jrue Holiday, who would have generated plenty of attention on the free agent market this Summer.
Holiday would have been at the top of the Knicks wish list this off-season since it looks like current Point Guard Derrick Rose won’t be back next season. Now the Knicks will probably look to move Rose at the trade deadline and gain draft picks or even a long term replacement for Rose.
The Kings didn’t get much for Boogie, which again speaks to their lack of a plan in rebuilding their once exciting franchise. They will also have a tough decision on how to start their rebuild since recent draft picks during the Cousins era have all been bust. Current GM Vlade Divac will be on the hot seat, not just for making this trade and recent failures building the roster, but for openly admitting he had a chance to get more in return for Cousin but never went through with any of those other deals.
Now the Kings must figure out which direction they will go in this Summer’s NBA Draft. Replacing an All-Star who’s just entering his prime is always tough. The rest of the NBA will have to figure out how to game plan for this new look Pelicans team and their dynamic duo, or as I like to call them, “Boogie and The Brow”.