The designated veteran extension in the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement was intended to make it easier for teams to keep their superstar players, but as Nate Duncan tweets, the Kings‘ decision to trade DeMarcus Cousins exposes an unintended consequence of the new super-max deal. If a team is unsure about whether or not it wants to make that massive commitment to its star player – and feels it “has to” make that commitment if it keeps him – it could lead to a trade, as it did with the Kings and Cousins.
For most of this season, the Kings seemed prepared to offer Cousins that massive designated veteran extension this summer, but owner Vivek Ranadive began to have doubts in recent weeks, per Chris Mannix of The Vertical. According to both Mannix and Sam Amick of USA Today, Cousins’ recent one-game suspension, along with the Kings’ win over Boston in the game he missed, played a part in the team’s decision to move him.
According to Mannix, that win over the Celtics without their star center in the lineup had some members of the Kings’ organization “dreaming of what a free-flowing, post-Cousins offense could look like.” Now the team will get a chance to see what its offense looks like without Cousins on a full-time basis.
Here’s more on the NBA’s latest blockbuster deal:
- One executive tells Mannix that his team would have taken Cousins only if the Kings were “giving him away.” A GM who spoke to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com was even more bearish on Cousins, suggesting that “New Orleans was desperate” and “Sacramento is free” of the mercurial big man. Still, as Goodman notes, multiple league executives were still surprised at how little the Kings got for their star center.
- Given the underwhelming nature of the trade package the Kings received, Kristian Winfield of SBNation.com wonders where the other offers for Cousins were. According to Mannix, a handful of teams, including the Magic and Celtics, expressed “nominal interest” in Cousins, though Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald tweets that Boston wasn’t one of the clubs actively engaged with Sacramento on Sunday.
- Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com answers a few key questions about the Cousins blockbuster, noting that the 26-year-old is now eligible for approximately $30MM on a maximum salary extension. Based on the NBA’s latest cap projections for 2018/19, a designated veteran extension for Cousins with the Kings would’ve been worth about $209MM, while a five-year max contract with the Pelicans will be worth approximately $179MM.
- Elsewhere at ESPN.com (Insider link), Kevin Pelton assigns the Pelicans a grade of A-minus for the deal, while the Kings get a D.
- The Cousins deal has a significant impact on the Sixers, Derek Bodner writes at DerekBodner.com. In addition to holding swap rights on the Kings‘ 2017 first-round pick and holding the Kings’ 2019 first-rounder outright, the Sixers also now have one fewer suitor for Jahlil Okafor. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported late last night (via Twitter) that the Pelicans offered Tyreke Evans, their 2017 first-round pick, and another draft pick for Okafor earlier this month, though Ramona Shelburne of ESPN notes (via Twitter) that New Orleans asked for top-20 protection on the 2017 pick.