The Sacramento Kings made a shocking trade on Sunday night as they traded star center DeMarcus Cousins and small forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway. The Kings will also receive a 2017 1st and 2nd round pick.
This was a really bad trade for the Kings mostly because they should have gotten more than they did for probably the best center in the NBA DeMarcus Cousins. I understand that they don’t want to have to pay a massive maximum contract to Cousins in free agency, but this trade doesn’t help them that much for the future. Guard Buddy Hield is the biggest return that the Kings got in this deal as he has tons of potential. Hield was known in college as being a great scorer and 3-point shooter, but his skills have yet to translate well to the NBA level. He is only averaging 8.6 points per game in his rookie season while averaging 20 minutes per game. Maybe he is just having trouble adjusting to the NBA in his rookie year, but if he lives up to his potential then he could be a 20 point scorer for the Kings. Also, the Kings are receiving Tyreke Evans who actually was drafted by the Kings in 2009 and he spent 4 years with the team before going to New Orleans. Evans never lived up to his expectations because of injuries and a career 29% 3-point shooting has really limited his offensive potential. Despite not being a good shooter, he still has managed to score a respectable 16.3 career points per game and he could be a decent offensive threat for the Kings if he has the opportunity to play quality minutes. Langston Galloway was also included in the deal for the Kings, but he is expected to be waived which makes no sense. The draft picks included in this deal might help the Kings rebuild a little bit, but the way that the Kings have been drafting lately it probably won’t do any good. The only good draft pick that they have had was DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas. Neither of those players are even on the team anymore. Every first round pick that they’ve had since 2011 have all been busts as they have drafted players like Thomas Robinson, Nik Stauskas, and Ben McLemore. Overall, DeMarcus Cousins might not have been worth a massive contract extension because of his character concerns. However, trading him away for 3 shooting guards that haven’t had great careers so far is just wishful thinking. Also, the Kings now have an extremely crowded backcourt and it is much more difficult to find elite centers these days than it is to find a good shooting guard. Sacramento had somewhat of a future with Cousins, but now they are looking at several years before they can compete again.
This is an outstanding trade for the Pelicans because they are finally getting some more help for star power forward Anthony Davis. Cousins is probably the best center in the NBA and Anthony Davis is probably the best power forward in the NBA. That is a frontcourt duo that makes the Pelicans contenders right away and I’m sure many teams will not want to face Davis and Cousins. The Pelicans gave up some potential in this trade, but honestly they got lucky that they didn’t have to give up more to get Cousins. It probably wasn’t ideal trading away Buddy Hield especially since he is a rookie with so much potential. However, he hadn’t adjusted to the NBA level and he certainly under performed for New Orleans this season and I wonder if Hield will ever be a really good player. Meanwhile, giving up Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway wasn’t too difficult for the Pelicans since neither played a key role on the team. Both have proven that they can be decent scorers, but it was clear that they wouldn’t have a big role going forward with the Pelicans. New Orleans giving up their 1st and 2nd round pick in the 2017 NBA draft will certainly hurt. However, the likelihood of the Pelicans drafting a good player with those picks wasn’t very likely. It’s never easy to make a trade like this considering how risky it is, but the Pelicans are getting a proven center with DeMarcus Cousins that makes them immediate contenders. It will be interesting to see if the team can re-sign Cousins before he hits free agency after the 2017 season, yet even if he doesn’t re-sign with New Orleans then he at least will be able to make them a contender for this season and next season. The Pelicans still have a few areas to improve, but this move could at least be enough to push them into the final playoff spot in the western conference.