First of all, I would like to congratulate the NBA All-Star Game for putting up a real thriller yesterday. They’re was a lot of effort put in on both sides, especially on the defensive end… check out some of these highlights (you might detect of bit of sarcasm).
Now, let’s talk about the trade that affects two of the smallest fan bases in the NBA; a trade between the New Orleans Pelicans (worst team name in pro sports) and the Sacramento Kings (Academy Award for Most Random Place to Host a Franchise).
If you missed this thing, as it went down at like 12:30 last night (don’t worry, I didn’t), the New Orleans Pelicans traded Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Gallaway, their 2017 first-round pick, and their 2017 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings for DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins and Omar Casspi.
On paper, the fan goes “hey, they got Boogie!”
Cousins provides a huge boost on the court and his numbers are electric. He averages 27.8 PPG, 10.7 REB, and 4.9 AST while standing at 6-11, 270 LBS… with a lot of athleticism.
This would give the New Orleans Pelicans arguably the two best big men in all of basketball, as their own athletic giant, Anthony Davis, averages 27.7 PPG, 12.2 REB, and 2.2 AST, but shoots a remarkable 50.3% from the field at 6-10, 250 LBS.
However, a simple five minutes of research or less will tell you that the Sacramento Kings absolutely robbed this trade.
We’ll start from the Cousins standpoint, then I’ll move into what they’re getting in the trade.
Granted, Cousins is an incredible talent, as his ability to impact a game goes beyond his stat line. What the Pelicans missed is that Boogie will be a free agent after next year.
Sacramento wasn’t in great shape to begin with, sitting 9 games under .500 and 1.5 games out of the play-offs, but New Orleans is in even worse shape. They’re 11 games under the .500 mark, 2.5 games out of the play-offs.
So, let’s say the Pelicans get into the playoffs, snagging that 8th seed in the Western Conference (it would take a tremendous feat to get ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who sit at 7th, but are 9 wins better than New Orleans as it stands now); you have to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round, who are going to beat you senseless.
Then, you ask yourself if you’re the Pelicans, “can we build in the off-season around Boogie and AD?” The answer, probably not.
In previous interviews, Cousins has stated that he, in all likelihood, would not be willing to sign an extension with any team he might join via trade. With a lack of notable talent, outside of Davis (because they traded any current or future talent away when they traded for Cousins), it will be hard to convince a) Cousins to rejoin the team or b) high-value free agents to hop on-board.
So, they’ve shot themselves in the foot with the whole Boogie-will-probably-only-be-here-one-year-but-we-kind-of-suck-so-whatever thing, so let’s look at the double, self-inflicted gunshot wound they decided to give themselves with the package they sent to Sacramento.
Props to the Kings, by the way, because they absolutely killed the Pelicans in this trade.
Let’s start with the draft picks they’ll have in 2017.
Currently, the Kings will own the 9th (their own) and 11th (New Orleans) picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, a draft that just about every basketball pundit considers to be the one of the deepest in years. If the Kings fall a few spots, which they probably will, they’re going to have a great spot for their own pick, while the Pelicans pick will likely value-out to somewhere in the mid-first.
That’s a great pay-out for this draft. They might end up with some premier talent to join what’s already a nice influx of talent joining the Kings roster.
Coming to Sacramento, by way of the Pelicans, will be (I’m omitting one guy, because he’s probably going to get waived) the 6th-overall pick from the 2016 draft, Buddy Hield, as well the former Kings 4th-overall pick from 2012 draft (traded a short while ago), Tyreke Evans.
Let’s take a look at their numbers:
Buddy Hield (SG/SF): 8.6 PPG, 2.9 REB, 1.4 AST
Tyreke Evans (SF/SG): 9.5 PPG, 3.3 REB, 3.5 AST
While those numbers might not blow you away, they’re solid production pieces, considering they aren’t superstar talent.
Buddy Hield could eventually blossom into one of the league’s better shooting guards, however. As of now, the rookie is only playing about 20.4 minutes per game, so his numbers are really only a sample of what he might be able to do in the future.
Meanwhile, Evans is a gritty defender, who does a lot of little things that would be able to help a team with a pair top-tier players, which Sacramento could have in the next 2-3 years, win a lot of basketball games.
I know there aren’t a lot of Pelicans fans out there, but if I was a Pelicans fan, I would be appalled by this trade; they got a rapidly expiring contract and traded away their future.
Granted, I’m frustrated by this trade for a set of selfish reasons as well: Mondays are supposed to be my relaxing, Cincinnati Reds column day, I wanted Cousins to go to a team that’s actually a contender, and because it held Boogie-time to only 2 minutes in yesterday’s All-Star Game.
So, unless you’re affiliated with the Sacramento Kings organization, we’re all losers in this trade. Sorry you had to deal with this on your Monday morning.