The New Orleans Pelicans may be interested in trading for Iman Shumpert, which could open conversations for DeMarcus Cousins.
There are no official reports that Cousins could be headed to Cleveland anytime soon. But just as progress initially happened fast when Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics, moves can escalate quickly in the NBA.
With conversations about Shumpert to the Pelicans now growing, whispers about Cousins may soon follow.
In the report, however, they mentioned “it remains to be seen” what Cleveland may want in exchange for the 27-year-old former first-round pick.
Considering he is owed $10.3 million next season, it would be hard to find a match in New Orleans. Here is what Oleh Kosel says of why a deal seems so far unlikely (via TheBirdWrites.com):
“In addition to the question of Shumpert’s fit on the team, his contract — $21,348,315 spread out over two years — is a giant stumbling block. There is a growing sense that the reason the Pelicans didn’t utilize the stretch provision on Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca or Quincy Pondexter was because the team has zero interest in carrying dead weight on future cap sheets.”
Asik and Shumpert have similar contracts, but it does not seem likely that the Cavaliers would want to bring him to the team. The veteran big man played a small role for the Pelicans last season. He appeared in just 31 games and averaged only 15.5 minutes per appearance last season. His 2.7 points per game were nothing to write home about either.
E’Twaun Moore has too much value for New Orleans to surrender in a move like this one. Hill cannot be traded as he is currently injured.
If Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants to keep LeBron James in Clevland, he may need to add another superstar.
The more interesting approach could be to trade for Cousins in a deal involving the recently acquired 2018 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets. The Cavaliers are reportedly willing to flip the asset into a “major trade package” (via Cleveland.com):
“As owners of Brooklyn’s No. 1 pick, which could be a top-five pick in next year’s draft, Cleveland has fielded numerous calls already about a potential trade. It could be a part of a major trade package for the Cavs later this year, or, conceivably, the Cavs could make that pick next June. Cleveland also has its own first-round pick in 2018, which it can trade. The Cavs also have multiple trade exceptions and second-round picks, and are pleased with their assets for potential trades or to replenish the roster in the event of a rebuild.”
While there is currently no report indicating New Orleans is one of the teams that has inquired about the pick, Cleveland has fielded “numerous calls” from front offices across the league.
Cousins, like LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas, will be a free agent after next season. If the four-time NBA MVP decides to leave Cleveland, meanwhile, the front office would certainly have the money to re-sign Cousins and build around him moving forward.
Here are some rumored deals that could land Cousins, who James has called the “best big man” in the league, on the Cavaliers.
The main reason why New Orleans would want to make a deal like the one suggested by FS1’s Nick Wright above would be if they did not think that Cousins planned to re-sign with the franchise.
Shumpert could fill their need at the wing without Hill while NBA veteran Frye would provide cleared cap space at the end of the season.
They would not have to worry about the $30 million per season required to re-sign Cousins during the 2018 offseason. Instead, they could primarily focus on building around Anthony Davis and the pick they would receive from Brooklyn.
Davis, paired with a top pick like Michael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bomba or another top prospect wouldn’t be a bad move for New Orleans.
If the Pelicans re-sign Dante Cunningham or another wing, they may no longer have interest in Shumpert. But if the tandem of Davis and Cousins isn’t working, a deal for Tristan Thompson may be solid value.
This trade would work as a one-for-one deal as their contracts (surprisingly) align well for a swap. Thompson still has three years left on his deal while Cousins will be a free agent in the upcoming offseason.
As such, he could be under contract as a serviceable starter for the frontcourt in New Orleans.
Here’s what ESPN’s senior NBA writer Marc Spears said about trading Kevin Love to the Pelicans (via KNBR.com):
“If you want to mess with the Warriors, I’d try to dangle Kevin Love to the Pelicans to get (DeMarcus) Cousins. Not that Cousins has always played great against the Warriors, but if you put him in that environment…I think he re-signs to play with LeBron and he gives them something different to perhaps mess with the Warriors a little bit.”
The Pelicans would need to add about $3.1 million in trade value to make this deal possible. Alexis Ajinca would make the numbers line up.
DunkWire, Alexis Ajinca, Anthony Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dante Cunningham, DeMarcus Cousins, E'Twaun Moore, Iman Shumpert, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans, Solomon Hill, Tristan Thompson, Alexis Ajinca, Anthony Davis, Dante Cunningham, DeMarcus Cousins, E'Twaun Moore, Iman Shumpert, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Solomon Hill, Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans