New Orleans Pelicans Steal DeMarcus Cousins From Sacramento Kings

The New Orleans Pelicans completed a trade for DeMarcus Cousins with the Sacramento Kings, robbing them blind in the process.

The New Orleans Pelicans had a big weekend hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The event is always successful for the hosting city, but New Orleans saved their best for last.

Shortly after the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night, the Pelicans pulled off a blockbuster trade. The Pelicans were finally able to end the DeMarcus Cousins saga with the Sacramento Kings. The Pelicans acquired Cousins from the Kings on Sunday night, early Monday, in a huge deal.

Adrian Wojnarowski was the first one to report the trade going down. Along with Cousins, the Pelicans will be receiving Omri Casspi. Heading to Sacramento is 2016 first-round pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and former Sacramento King Tyreke Evans.

In addition to the three players, the Kings will also receive the Pelicans’ 2017 first-round draft pick and a future second-round pick.

There are no typos in that. The Pelicans were able to acquire an All-Star and arguably the best center in the NBA in Cousins surrendering only one first-round pick. That alone makes this deal a steal for the Pelicans.

A deal of this magnitude is rarely pulled off. It is even rarer for a player with the talent of Cousins to be acquired for a sole first-round pick.

Just look at what the New York Knicks had to trade for Carmelo Anthony or the New Jersey, now Brooklyn Nets, traded for Deron Williams and an over-the-hill Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry.

The Knicks surrendered three first-round picks and four players from their starting lineup for Anthony. For Williams, the Nets traded away what was basically three first-round picks.

Brooklyn gave up three first-round picks in the deal with the Celtics, who also had swapping rights in 2015 and 2017.

Based on that alone, the Pelicans were clear winners in this trade. Evans is injury prone and Galloway is expected to be waived upon arriving at Sacramento, according to Wojnarowski. Hield is the main piece going back to Sacramento, a small price to pay in the big picture for the Pelicans.

Hield looks like he can be a nice player, but he does not look to have superstar potential.

Hield, Evans, and Galloway have specific roles with the Pelicans, but Cousins can replace their production by himself. While his usage rate will drop alongside Davis, Cousins should still maintain a high level of success.

Hield, Evans, and Galloway combined are averaging 26.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 59 minutes per game. Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 34.4 minutes per game.

Casspi will also help the Pelicans. He will help replace the three-point shooting that New Orleans is losing from Hield and Galloway. Casspi also upgrades the Pelicans small forward spot, a position they were hoping Solomon Hill would help fill.

But Hill has come up short after signing a four-year, $48 million deal in free agency.

The Pelicans are currently in 11th place in the Western Conference but are only 2.5 games out of the eighth place. The Portland Trail Blazers, Kings, and Denver Nuggets are the teams currently ahead of the Pelicans.

With Cousins now in the fold, the Pelicans have an excellent chance of passing those teams and qualifying for the postseason.

If they are able to do that, they will present some major problems for whoever they are matched up with. Most teams struggle to contain one talented big men; now teams that have to play the Pelicans have to face off with two.

The Pelicans have been trying to add talent around Anthony Davis for a while. They pushed forward their rebuild when they traded for Jrue Holiday. The team was never able to take that next step, but Cousins should push them to the next level they want to reach.

Being able to acquire Cousins without draining their future assets or trading any key contributors–Hield, Galloway, and Evans were ninth, 10th and 11th in minutes per game, the Pelicans come away as bandits.

The Pelicans stole Cousins from the Kings and should shoot up the standings as a result.

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