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February 20, 2017 | 5:12 am EST Update
For months, Kings execs, from basketball to the business side, were in lockstep with the reality that rebooting the franchise without Cousins was the only long-term solution. Ranadive, the embattled owner, was all that stood in the way. Ranadive stepped aside on Sunday, clearing the way for the Kings to send Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first- and second-round picks. In dealing a top-10 talent like Cousins for a solid scoring rookie and a pair of picks, the message was unmistakable: Cousins is good, but we’re better off without him.
Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans
This is a culture move for the Kings, who are extremely fond of Hield and who were desperate to replenish their depleted draft assets en route to another rebuild. Not only will they now have the Pelicans’ pick in this loaded draft (they’re currently 23-34 and very likely to get better, thus depreciating the pick), but they’ll likely keep their first rounder that goes to Chicago if it’s not in the top 10 (they’re currently 24-33 and likely to get worse). According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Cousins’ mercurial ways played a major part in their decision.