After saying in recent weeks they were not looking to trade DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings end up doing just that… sending him and Omri Casspi to New Orleans in exchange for: Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first rounder and a 2017 second rounder.
Plenty of questions here, namely, was trading Cousins the right move. And if it was, did they get enough in return for him, or could they have done better?
Kings’ fans, was he just not worth the trouble and are you happy he’s gone. Or are you bent he’s gone. And if you are, who’s to blame here? Mgmt. For giving up on the best big man in the game, or Cousins for putting them and himself in this position? So let’s break this down.
First, should they have traded him? In discussing why they made the move, Vlade Divac made the point of saying character counts. And that they wanted to change the culture of the team.
Translation: what we’re doing isn’t working; this dude is way too toxic, and not a guy we can win with or build around. And his act and his attitude are not improving. And if he hasn’t changed by now, he probably never will. This isn’t an underclassman just entering the league. This is a guy who is 7 years in, in his prime, 26 and should know better. And he doesn’t.
A guy, who will fight with just about anyone: the refs, the opposition, his own teammates, his own organization, the local media, the visiting media, his own play by play guy, Grant Napear; Boogie runs hot; obviously.
But, considering he leads the league in T’s, it obviously wasn’t improving and he’s never even led them to the playoffs, much less won there. So if it’s not working, and his volatility isn’t diminishing, and the guy is still out of control, why would they want to throw another $200 mill at him? Answer is you wouldn’t. So you have to move him.
Hard to argue with that logic. Because the fact is, it wasn’t working. And if you think he had too much power in the organization already, how much worse was a contract like that going to make it?. If he already wasn’t willing to listen to anyone, how are you going to get his attention once you guarantee him $200 mill plus. You’re not. So from that standpoint, I don’t have a problem with them moving him.
Question is, did they get enough in return? And the answer is no. They didn’t. Because Vlade Divac himself, admitted he had a better deal on the table two days earlier.
So Vlade himself admits they could have gotten more, could have done better than they did. Question is, why didn’t he take it? His inexperience bit him in the back?. Or as he seems to suggest, it was Cousins’ reps who killed the deal. Ask Vlade and he’d tell you, I already lost one deal that was better, and I didn’t want to lose another one. Maybe. Maybe.
But look at what they received in return for the best big man in the game, and probably a top 10 talent in the league: when I first saw it, I had to do a double take, like, that can’t be real. That can’t be all they got for DeMarcus Cousins. But it is. And obviously, it’s not a good deal for the Kings. One first rounder and Buddy Hield, is not enough for the best big man in the league and one of the best players in franchise history. It’s just not. You have to do better than that. And Vlade admitted he could have, just a couple of days earlier.
Now, in Vlade’s defense, this is not the easiest guy to trade. Everyone around the league knows about his volatility. And since he only has one year left on his deal, he may be nothing more than a rental. So you could see where teams were not willing to give up much to get him. The Kings knew that. Just as they knew there was no way, they could get equal value for him. And I’m not saying you have to get equal value for this guy. But you do have to do better than only one first rounder and a guy who may or my not make it in Buddy Hield. One first rounder and no legitimate stars in return, is not enough for DeMarcus Cousins, no matter how a big of a problem he is.
So who’s to blame here? Pretty much everyone, who’s in the right? Pretty much no one.
Clearly, the Kings didn’t want to trade a guy with this much talent; the best big in the game. But because Cousins is still as volatile as he’s ever been, and they’ve never gone anywhere with him, they felt they like they didn’t have a choice.
Again, Cousins put himself and the team in that position. There’s a reason they gave up on their franchise big man. Just as there’s a reason no one was willing to give up much to get him. He needs to own that.
The Kings, meanwhile certainly could have handled his situation and other things better. They need to own the fact that they didn’t surround him with more talent. And allowed him to get as much power as he did. Again, plenty of blame to go around; pretty much everyone was wrong and no one was right.