Kings Trade DeMarcus Cousins To Pelicans

FEBRUARY 20: The trade is official, according to press release issued by the Kings and Pelicans. Sacramento has waived Matt Barnes to clear room for the extra incoming player.DeMarcusCousins vertical

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization,” Kings GM Vlade Divac said in a statement. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

For more notes, reactions, and details on the deal, check out our posts from earlier today, plus our initial Sunday report below.

FEBRUARY 19: After publicly vowing earlier this season that he wouldn’t be moved, the Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders tweets that the deal consists of Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, New Orleans’ 2017 first-round pick (top-three protected), and Philadelphia’s 2017 second-round pick going to Sacramento, with Cousins and Omri Casspi heading to New Orleans. David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link) initially reported that the Kings would also get a 2019 first-rounder, but he has since issued a correction, tweeting that New Orleans balked at the Kings’ request to include that pick.

Earlier this evening, news broke that the Kings and Pelicans had engaged in discussions about a possible Cousins deal. At the time, it was reported by Scotto that the standout center could potentially be shipped to New Orleans in exchange for a package involving Hield, a 2017 first-round pick and an additional first-round pick. Later, in an article published at The Vertical, Wojnarowski suggested that expiring contracts could also be involved.

Following the first report, Wojnarowski tweeted that Kings general manager Vlade Divac had formally presented what the front office believed to be the two best trade proposals to team owner Vivek Ranadive. Previously, despite concerns throughout the organization about Cousins’ temperament, Ranadive was intent on holding onto the franchise pillar, and Divac had publicly reiterated that stance.

For the Kings, it’s an abrupt about-face, and it’s fair to wonder if Divac’s public and private declarations that Cousins wouldn’t be moved will hurt his credibility with agents and players in the future, as Wojnarowski tweets.

Over the last several hours, other teams, including the Suns and Lakers, were linked to the Kings’ Cousins talks, though the discussions with New Orleans were viewed as the most serious. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter links), the Lakers balked at Sacramento’s asking price and opted against including Brandon Ingram in a package.

Ultimately, the Kings aren’t getting a massive haul in return for their All-NBA big man, though it’s worth noting that several pre-draft reports back in June indicated that the team was very high on Hield. Still, it’s surprising that the former Oklahoma sharpshooter and a draft pick that may not even end up in the lottery are the centerpieces of a Cousins deal. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report tweets there wasn’t much of a market for the All-Star big man, according to several executives.

The deal also isn’t necessarily great news for Cousins, who will now be ineligible to receive a Designated Veteran Extension this summer. The 26-year-old would have met the criteria for a new deal worth 35% of the cap if he remained in Sacramento, and there were indications in recent weeks that both sides were on board with the idea of getting something done. Now that he’s changing teams, Cousins will be eligible for a far more modest extension.

Cousins’ agent Jarinn Akana suggested earlier today that his client wasn’t likely to sign an extension this summer with any team that traded for him, as ESPN’s Marc Stein reported (Twitter links). However, that could have been a negotiating tactic — if teams were worried about their ability to re-sign Cousins, they may have been reluctant to trade for him, in which case he would’ve remained with the Kings and been eligible for a super-max deal. For what it’s worth, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets that the Pelicans are confident that they can ultimately lock up Cousins to a new contract. If New Orleans can’t extend Cousins prior to free agency, he’ll hit the open market in 2018.

In recent weeks, the Pelicans had been linked to centers such as Jahlil Okafor and Brook Lopez as they dangled a first-round pick in an effort to find a frontcourt partner for Anthony Davis. The team had reportedly been offering its 2018 pick, having been reluctant to move its first-rounder in 2017, given this year’s strong draft class. However, it makes sense that New Orleans was willing to change course for a player of Cousins’ caliber.

With Cousins and Davis in the frontcourt, the Pelicans will feature two of the league’s very best big men. Cousins, who was named to the All-NBA second team last year, has arguably been even better in 2016/17, averaging a career-high 27.8 PPG to go along with 10.7 RPG and 4.9 APG. His presence on the Pelicans’ roster may have an impact on Jrue Holiday‘s decision in free agency this summer. Holiday is on an expiring deal, but Davis has been lobbying the veteran point guard to re-sign with New Orleans.

This move will also have draft-related ramifications for the Sixers and Bulls. Chicago had been in line to receive Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2017 if it fell outside of the top 10. With Cousins no longer on their roster though, the Kings seem likely to slip in the standings, which is bad news for the Bulls. Chicago will receive a 2017 second-rounder from the Kings if Sacramento’s first-rounder falls in the top 10.

As for the Sixers, they’ll have the option to swap first-round picks with Sacramento if the Kings retain their selection. As our 2016/17 Reverse Standings show, Philadelphia currently has the league’s fifth-worst record, while the Kings rank 11th, but things are tight enough that those spots could flip quickly.

For the deal to become official, the Kings will have to remove at least one more player from their roster, via release or trade. The team is also considered likely to waive Galloway after acquiring him, per Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The third-year guard needed to be included in the swap for salary-matching purposes.

In other cap-related housekeeping notes, Evans’ deal includes a 15% trade kicker, which will add an extra $458K to his salary. The Pelicans will pay that trade bonus, though it will be charged to Sacramento’s cap. Each team will create a modest trade exception in the deal as well — the Kings’ TPE should be worth Casspi’s salary ($2.963MM), while the Pelicans’ TPE should be worth Hield’s salary ($3.517MM)

Luke Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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133 thoughts on “Kings Trade DeMarcus Cousins To Pelicans

  1. scotts

    Can’t believe this is happening. Kings are not making out very well in the deal at all for an elite talent like Cousins.

    • KCelts

      Hield, a 1st, a 2nd, and Tyreke Evans. Honestly, that pick may not even be a lottery pick if the Pelicans sneak into that 8th seed. The Kings did awful here.

      • scotts

        It’s a bad deal, no doubt. This probably helps Sacramento chances to keep their own pick, but it still is likely going to be 6-10 range. Pelicans now have a decent chance to grab the #8 seed, so likely will be in 11-15 range.

  2. Thronson5

    Wow! Thought he wanted to stay and thought they were going to extend him. Crazy. This seems to have came together quickly. Just heard they kings were asking my Lakers for Ingram. Really bummed we didn’t make that trade happen. Good for the Pelicans though. They are definitely moving in the right direction now with Cousins and Davis.

  3. scotts

    What did Boogie do? Something fishy is going on here. Sacramento said fairly recently they were not even listening to offers and now all of sudden they make a this deal.

  4. floridapinstripes

    It’s hield, Galloway, Evans plus a future first and second round pick

    • KCelts

      Were the Cs ever truly in on him? I feel if Ainge wanted to, he easily could have topped that offer. It makes sense for Ainge not to deal for him though. Don’t want to give up too much when he may not even re-sign.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Yes, but if Ainge could’ve acquired Boogie at this price, he still could’ve grabbed Butler either now or on draft day, and they would be legitimately ready to take on Cleveland next year. If they sent Bradley out in the Butler trade, they may have been able to resign both Thomas and Boogie. It would require a lot of $$ from Wyc, but he has enough cash to put into the team.

        • They probably wouldn’t have had enough money to resign Thomas and Boogie to max contracts (based on your theory if Butler also went to Boston). If they did somehow resign them, Boston would then not have a bench. Barring some players taking extreme paycuts, you could quickly say goodbye to Crowder, Smart, Olynyk, Zeller, and Johnson.

        • KCelts

          That’d be pretty unrealistic. As much as we want to see a star here in Boston, I’m not sure it’s necessarily smart to give up future pieces if a player is reluctant to re-sign.

  5. rangerfan23

    I bet it’s be cousins hated talking about trade rumors so boom, no more trade rumors. Become you just got traded to New Orleans !!!! Also I be Evans is like….I don’t wanna go back

  6. HughJass

    Cousins must be a real loser in the lockroom or behind the scenes for this to be his value. Talent wise he’s a beast on the court. Off it he must be intolerable. I can think of a dozen teams maybe that could offer more. The NO pick will be mid 1st, if they get the 8 seed. Heild in 23 i think and looks like a potential bust, granted it’s early. Point is, that is a glaringly weak return for an elite talent. He must be reviled by teams. The Celtics need a Cousins, and they apparently passed with all their assets. Crazy trafe and situation.

  7. Knox Christopher

    I always thought that hield would end up with the kings. Somehow, someway.

  8. Chased

    This is insane. Seems pretty terrible for the kings and great for the pelicans.

    How this was the best offer, though, is hard to believe. Boston had way more assets and I can’t imagine other teams couldn’t put together better than this.

    • Boston has more assets, and Sacramento’s complete flip on their opinion of Cousins is shocking, but maybe Ainge wasn’t willing to part with the assets asked.

    • Reggie Green

      If they weren’t including Brooklyns pick,they weren’t topping this offer.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Oh please. Jaylen Brown, the Clips pick, the Grizzlies pick, a second rounder and Demetrius Jackson beats this offer easily.

        • reggie green

          You can make arguments for either Brown or Heild.and Jackson isnt anything more than a backup.and if this years draft is the 1 thats deep with good prospects,wouldnt you rather have a pick this year rather than the picks in future drafts you dont know about yet.i would.

          Player wise Heild and Brown are a push.who are you topping Evans with?

  9. Compton

    WOW!!! What a garbage trade! Boston or Denver could have made far better offers. Cousins on Boston is a lot better of a fit then Butler if they trade for him.

  10. BWA214

    They both were bluffing… Cousins gonna say whatever to repair his image a little with whoever he signs with next buy either way he was gonna get paid so I bet kings thought they couldn’t trust what he says in hoping he resigns and Sacramento was where he wanted to be but like most say for cousins seems rather light… but I guess this is the best they got so I guess get what they can. Let’s be honest was he really a lock to resign? Yea $215m if he resigns but he could always maximize and get a ring by signing a 2yr with opt out while joining or creating another super team…

  11. DarkGhost

    This makes no sense at all. Boston, Phoenix, and Denver could all have made better offers than what the pelicans did.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Wow great reasoning behind that opinion. I haven’t seen you make one real comment on this thread. Just snarky comments with no analysis. Why bother posting?

    • mad nova

      I think it’s more telling that those teams all didn’t make better offers…

  12. Compton

    Cousins just needs a winning team with some stability. I blame Sac for 90% of Cousins issues.

    • KCelts

      You’ll never truly know his issues, but you actually raise a valid point. Sacramento never improved with him at all. Granted, injuries hurt them the first time they had Tyreke and Rudy Gay, but they haven’t done anything to really push them over the top.

      The scouting has been poor, the coaching has been an unmitigated disaster, and the front office has been a total train wreck. I can’t really blame Boogie for being disgruntled all the time.

    • DarkGhost

      The suns pry think they can nab him in free agency when he hits the market after next season. It’s widely believed he wants to play with his boy Bledsoe. Depending on what the suns do in the draft that is. If they draft a PG to replace Bledsoe then cousins might not be interested in joining the team. But if they draft Jackson out of Kansas or Tatum out of Duke then I could see cousins coming and playing as long as Bledsoe is going to be there as well.

    • hill

      Every fan of the other 28 teams are asking the same thing: why didn’t my GM top this pathetic offer.

      Let’s give the Kings benefit of the doubt for a moment and consider — maybe they knew there was ZERO chance Cousins would re-sign with them. And maybe agents knew this and thus all leverage was lost.

  13. Formerlyz

    Demarcus will be a free agent after next season, and got them 2 1st rounders, a young guard, and a young combo guard on a good contract. Evans matches salaries and is obviously a free agent. Should also preserve cap space for Sacramento, and allow them to utilize more of their young guys to get up and down the floor. DeMarcus also isn’t a good defender, where Willie Cauley-stein is really good in that regard. It should be interesting to see what happens next. Ultimately, this should have been better for them though, and they were a terrible organization throughout his tenure there.

    For New Orleans, they badly need more shooting on the wing, but this does improve their spacing issues a little bit, although I’m not a fan of multiple big lineups. It should be interesting to see how this effects them defensively, and also how it effects the flow of the offense, as both Demarcus and AD can be ball stoppers at times, although Cousins is much more guilty of that. Obviously next thing on their agenda is moving Asik and/or Ajinca, and finding another guard/wing.

    • Formerlyz

      If I recall correctly, the kings were high on Hield before the draft. He has pressed all season, in my opinion, and could bust. That being said, he seems to have good motor, and I’ll give him a chance to figure it out. There are times where you don’t see him pressing as much lately

    • Formerlyz

      Kings would have had to pay Cousins $200+ million. Also, they would have had to drastically change their roster in my opinion. They’ve been conducting business the last couple of years like Cousins would be gone…Their roster was making no sense. They needed a better asset than Hield though…

      Edit: just realized they didn’t get the 2019 pick, and are waiving Galloway…so Hield and 2017 1st for Boogie…wow. kind of seems like what they’d get if this were next year’s deadline

    • Formerlyz

      They’re up there, but that is definitely the Marlins. The Marlins are the Lebrons of being a joke organization. They’re meta knight. Cleveland Browns are probably Kevin durant, Kings are right there, Knicks, Dolphins, Jets, Buffalo Bills are up there with some random hockey teams probably. This is off the tip of my head, so I probably missed a couple

        • halos101

          angels are nowhere near worst organization in sports. If you’ve watched baseball for more than the past couple years, you would know about the success they’ve had over the past decade

  14. Sargeshooter85

    Addition by subtraction Boogie can play ball but the combo of him being so unstable and the crappy kings front office made this whole situation toxic

  15. mitt24

    Wow that’s all it took? Celtics could’ve gotten him for Rozier, Bradley, and the current nets pick. That’s a steal NO

    • Connorsoxfan

      Or frankly just Bradley and Rozier because of the sheer crappiness of what NO gave up. Kidding, a little. They could’ve done it without either Nets pick IMO.

  16. Michael N

    Wow Vlade giving Billy King a run for his money as the worst GM in history. I’m sure Boston could of offer something better. I wonder if the Kings will try to trade for Okafor now.

    Also i wonder what new New Orleans is gonna do about Ajinca and Asik they still have both of them on the roster.

    • If Boston did offer something better Vlade would have taken it. Get real. Why even say that you would take a trade from a team offering less than another team. That’s the worst statement ever. Vlade took to the owner the two best trade proposals. They chose the best one which was New Orleans.

      • mvottop

        Again, go read the articles. They clearly state that out of the teams to contact Sacramento today, Boston was not one of them. There was never a serious offer from Boston.

        • Connorsoxfan

          Yeah, I don’t understand why SAC wouldn’t have called Boston though. Just said: here’s what we have. Top it. And Boston might have.

  17. GuruGray

    Great day to be a Sixers fan. 2017 swap rights and 2019 unprotected. Sam Hinkie died for our sins #TrustTheProcess

  18. Vlade is in a tough spot. He can’t answer except to the owner. He can’t just make his own decisions. Kind of a Jerry Jones Dallas situation, the GM can only do so much on his own. I give Vlade a lot of credit.

  19. WolfPack

    I was guessing it was going to be Suns or Celtics earlier tonight. The Pels don’t have anything left to go for Jimmy Butler or Paul George now

    • Well obviously…but that was before they probably made a serious run at Cousins.

  20. Guest

    Geez Sacramento. While the return is modest at best, it was probably the best return Sacramento was going to get. If anything, the Kings can now go into full rebuild mode with their young guys and draft picks, though with their questionable draft selections recently I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I can’t even imagine what Kings fans are feeling right now.

    Pelicans got away with murder with this deal, but I’m still skeptical of what’s going to unfold. Yes, AD and Cousins will dominate headlines and in the frontcourt, but how will they work in Alvin Gentry’s fast pace offense? And, most importantly, will the Pelicans be able to resign Cousins after next season?

    And to think a big trade like this happens right after the all Star game. Looking forward to more trades unfolding in the next few days.

  21. Michael N

    As a Sixers fan this is the best news. Not only do the Sixers have the rights to swap with the Kings this year they also have the Kings 1st rounder next year and without Cousins they will be a lottery team for sure if not one of the bottom 5 teams in the league.

    • Sixers have Kings 1st rounder in 2019, not next year. Should still be a really good pick though.

  22. D-NBA

    The Kings are set on giving Papagiannis and Labissiere a better look, I like them picking up Buddy Hield who will be under Joerger to develop better. The Kings will be fine, Cousins was a phenomenal basketball player for the Kings but they had no future with Cousins regardless, now they can focus on developing Hield and seeing what they really have in Cauley-Stein who I think can step in and be a force on both ends.

  23. ChiSoxCity

    GarPax should have traded the Sacramento pick. It’s completely useless, as are they.

  24. James

    And Top 3 protected? I will laugh if New Orleans somehow keep that pick. Am I missing something or is that just terrible negotiation by Sacramento? One side got everything they wanted.

    • hill

      No question this is a steal for New Orleans if Cousins re-signs.

      But they need to start shopping in the D-League for backcourt bodies. They traded away about 60 minutes/game from their backcourt. Could be some ugly, big rotations for a while.

      Maybe they do a Delly for Solomon Hill. Bucks get a body to help fill Jabari’s lost minutes, Delly a solid rotation player, great locker room guy.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Yeah I see them taking a couple vets on 10-day contracts short term, and making another deal or two by the deadline. They should’ve added in their 2019 first and taken Darren Collison in return.

  25. Lol the Kings have done it again. They probably have made some of the worst trades in NBA history. Brooklyn’s pick, just the pick would have been a better return.

  26. Terrible deal for Sacramento. Have to believe that either Cousins’ value is actually this low (because of his attitude issues) or no one else offered a legitimate deal in the past. I mean if Boston, Denver, or Phoenix were serious about acquiring Cousins, they could’ve offered better picks and more young players. I also have to believe that Ranadive (or even Joerger) had to push Divac for a deal. On a side note, this probably saves Demps’ job for the season.

    Either way, this deal is terrible. I don’t know if they’ll keep Evans around, but this is essentially Evans, Hield, and a late lottery/just outside the lottery pick for Cousins. And even though the Sixers have the Kings’ pick next year, this should at least guarantee the Kings of having a lottery pick this year. I doubt the team is good enough to stay above the 10th pick, and barring a late season run from Philly, I don’t see Philly finishing with a record outside of the bottom 10 either. Still, Sacramento got robbed here. Have to think that they could have pried another pick or player off of New Orleans. I know they might of ended up blocking Papagiannis, Labisserie, or WCS but Terrence Jones or D-Mo would’ve been better “throw ins” if the Kings are serious about dumping Galloway.

  27. Joe Love

    Boston have a culture building and probably didn’t want to jeopardise that by adding Cousins’ horrific character to the mix.


    Wow that’ll shake things up a bit! I hope it works out for both sides but I’d hate to face the Pelicans now. Two bigs at the peak of their game,it’ll be tough to stop.

  29. Todd Y

    After all the talk talk that ainge wanted a superstar and he doesn’t even put in an offer for cousins.. smh

    Even if the Celtics top 3 protect this year’s nets pick and offers next year’s celtics pick and some talent that’s better than the pelicans deal..

    Ainge, you just got out hustled.. shameful

    • Formerlyz

      Or he doesn’t want Cousins, especially b/c he doesnt fit his team? I love how whenever a deal goes down, every team has fans crucifying their GM for not making the deal themselves. There is almost always a legit reason for it. I never saw a fit for Cousins in Boston

      • XFLbetterthanNFL

        Ainge stinks and always low balls. He holds Boston back. Always has.

        • reggie green

          Yea,he’s held them back so much that they have the 2nd best record in the East,5th best in the league.despite that record,theyre still in position to add a top player in this years draft.
          He stinks so bad he helped them get a chip in 08,and when that roster aged,he retooled it pretty quickly.they have plenty of future ammunition to remain real contenders.

          Im a 6er fan from Philly,and i dont see how anyone cant respect the guy.

          • MacToa

            Boston fans can be pretty brutal. It’s even worse now that they have won so many titles in so short a span.

          • They could easily be better if Ainge had the guts to make a move for a star player. He’s consistently low balled on offers and seems to be waiting for the price to drop down to unrealistic levels.

            • Connorsoxfan

              Which is why I don’t understand why we don’t have Cousins. This is pretty unrealistic value.

              • Formerlyz

                B/c he didn’t want Cousins. It’s obvious he never fit on the roster

  30. XFLbetterthanNFL

    Crappy value. But good to get rid of him. Every GM should always go after high character players. Cousins is not that.

  31. Todd Y

    Ainge better be fired today… waits for a super star to be put on the market.. and does nothing..

    Who’s the biggest laughing stock gm, divas for giving away cousins for pennies on the dollar or ainge for doing nothing …


    • KCelts

      You’re right fire him and forget about the Brooklyn deal and the Phoenix deal…

      Ainge is doing the right thing here.

  32. reggie green

    Cousins puts up great numbers,but the Kings never won anything with him,and he’s a headcase.wasnt worth the 219m contract it was gonna cost them.lets face it,thats the only reason he wanted to stay there.

  33. Connorsoxfan

    Come on Danny. Brown and the 2018 nets pick. It’s not that hard. Heck, you could still trade for another star if you cleared cap.

    • GuruGray

      The Nets pick would have been overkill. The pick the Kings got probably won’t even be lotto. Plus Danny Ainge is all in on trying to deal for Butler this summer

          • GuruGray

            Ainge has a longer view. Boogie wasn’t gonna make the Celtics better than the Cavs this year. And if they had traded for him Boogie, IT, and Bradley would be UFAs in 2018. Plus Smart as an RFA. Couldn’t keep them all

            • Connorsoxfan

              Yeah, but at that price why wouldn’t you take him? They could do it without a nets pick. They could still pick up Butler at the deadline or draft day and make a run next year.

            • If your the Celtics though, and you acquired Boogie, keeping both Bradley and Smart goes on the backburner. Instant priorities are Boogie and IT. Afterwards, it’s probably Smart because he’ll likely be cheaper. Boogie instantly makes the Celtics better than keeping Bradley and Smart (assuming one of them isn’t tossed into the Cousins deal).

  34. What are draft picks going to do for Kings, look how they bombed out the last two lottery picks. They have no idea how to pick players.

  35. Franklin Ashley

    Lakers were the smartest not to make a deal for an unknown future, better to drop and keep picks 17/19. Ingrams the real deal but is very very young a good thing, as the future is where it’s at for chips. Talks on Butler ongoing, but won’t involve Ingram. Time to play poker. Who does what before Thursday

  36. Reggie Green

    For everyone complaining about Danny Ainge not making a deal for Cousins,this is the position he has the Celtics in.

    Kings and Pelicans make a deal,and the thread is loaded with talk about the Celtics,because he has them in good enough position to be involved in just about any deal for any player.

  37. Joeycalexc

    This perfect for sixer fans. Early in the season the kings were losing and lakers were winning some cames the process was working perfectly. Now that the Kings are better and the Lakers are in the tank the sixers were likely to only get one pick so embiid out indefinitely. Vlade fixed everything

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