There’s also the ultimate gamble of pursuing unrestricted free agent DeMarcus Cousins; multiple league sources said the Suns pursued Cousins prior to the 2017 deadline. Nonetheless, the Suns are positioned to swing for the fences, and the time to do so could be coming soon.
More Rumors in this Storyline
Marc Stein: Most teams around the league think that the Pelicans will re-sign Cousins unless he doesn’t want to stay there. (…) I’ve heard Dallas and the Lakers… Those are teams expected to make a run at him.
Nevertheless, the superstar talent of Oklahoma City’s Paul George or New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, each deserving of that Nets first-rounder, won’t see the light in this trade market as of right now, league sources said, as those teams are fully focused on winning with each respective player.
Alex Kennedy: Do you think we could see New Orleans try and flip DeMarcus Cousins? Michael Scotto: No, I don’t see them moving Cousins because one: They’re trying to become a playoff team. They feel their best advantage against any team — whether it’s the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers, etc — is that they have two of the premier big men in the league. In a league where you see a lot of small-ball play, DeMarcus Cousins — that’s their best advantage. They need to keep Jrue Holiday healthy and Rajon Rondo healthy, as well. I really don’t see DeMarcus Cousins getting moved. I think if the Pelicans, for whatever reason, went on a 10-game losing streak, as something drastic, then you could see it. But as of this point, I would not think of it that way. And I’ve seen people throw out there maybe DeMarcus Couins could go to Cleveland for the [Brooklyn Nets] pick. What’s the point of that, if you’re New Orleans?
Scotto: You have Anthony Davis entering his prime. Cousins is in his prime. Why are you resetting at that point? You’re trying to make the playoffs — not only keep your job if you’re Dell Demps and the guys in that management — but you’ve shown flashes of having a puncher’s chance against Golden State when you have those big guys as a tandem. I don’t see him getting moved at this point.
According to NBA insider Eric Pincus, the Lakers will target both DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George closer to the NBA Trade Deadline. “Plan A for the Lakers is still LeBron James. Having said that, at the deadline, the Lakers have two targets: Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins. I think George is more of a long shot since the Thunder seem to have figured things out over the last 10 games. However, the Pelicans are a different story because they’re just above .500. If they don’t climb the standings, they will be open to move Cousins,” Pincus said during the LakersNation Podcast.
Tim MacMahon on the Mavericks trying to get DeMarcus Cousins: I’ve been told by people with the Mavericks that “absolutely no way would they touch Boogie”… I also think that I’ve been lied to [laughs].
Marc J. Spears: “(DeMarcus Cousins) said he would come to D.C., but he didn’t know what was going to happen,” Wizards guard John Wall told The Undefeated. “I didn’t know he was going to be traded like that. We thought it was going to be later on or he was just going to stay [in Sacramento]. It shocked me just like it shocked him.”
Newly-signed Golden State Warriors forward Matt Barnes discussed the days leading up to the messy divorce between his former teammate DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings. “It was a tough situation for all of us,” Barnes told ESPN in his first interview on the situation since the trade. “They were so adamant about not trading him. I mean, I understand this is a business and you got to do what’s best for the franchise, but when you go out of your way time and time again to say you’re not going to do something and then do something and not consulting someone is a funny way of handling it, to say the least.”
“He’s a good dude, man,” Barnes said to ESPN of Cousins. “He’s young and he’s emotional. And I think that’s why we connected because I was a similar way, even though I’m still kind of old and emotional now. All he wants to do is win, and sometimes that gets the best of us. I think he’s judged unfairly, but the league and the world needs bad guys and that’s what we’ve done for them. So we give them the bad guys.”
Barnes understands the Kings had doubts about giving Cousins a $200 million extension in the summer. He gets the business. But throughout his 13-year career that included stops with nine different teams, Barnes said he’s never observed an organization handle a player — let alone an All-Star player — in such a deceiving manner. “Nah, never. That was bad. That was a bad way it went down,” Barnes said to ESPN. “But you know, my hat’s off to DeMarcus the way he handled it. To give everything he gave to that franchise and for it to go down the way it went down at the end is a tough pill to swallow. But he stayed professional and said the right things. Even though he may have felt another way, he said the right stuff and that’s all that matters.”
“Once I saw them trading him and what they got back, I figured they were in a rebuilding process,” he said. “They knew I wanted to win now. I don’t have time to rebuild. So, the next day, I was gone as well. So, it’s the business. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but I couldn’t be happier being here with the Golden State Warriors.”
In an interview with European media outlet, Blick Sports, Divac acknowledged he tried to get Jokic, as well as other promising rising stars in the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker and Los Angeles Lakers’ Brandon Ingram, in exchange for Cousins. The article was written in Serbian with an excerpt translating to the following: “There was no way that we (could get) Jokic. I wanted him, but (Denver refused),” Divac said. I tried to get Booker in Phoenix, and Ingram from the Lakers but there was no chance. I wanted to start from the beginning and I think that’s for the best.”
My sources also told me that NBA vice president Kiki Vandeweghe and Bob Delaney flew out here and met with DeMarcus a day or so before he was tagged with his 16th technical and that the meeting was not well received. But what finally moved you from pause to pushing the button? Was there a tipping point? Vlade Divac: It was a lot of things, but basically, I thought it was time to start over. There was a lot of bad stuff happening here the last five years, a lot of bad habits. There were always issues, many you don’t even know about. Now I believe strongly this was the right thing to do for our future. Now I have a clear vision. This city deserves better, and I want to create that. With DeMarcus’ situation, I basically was stuck.
Then why tell ESPN two weeks ago that you were keeping Cousins and expected him to be around for a long time – which suggests a contract extension was in the works? Vlade Divac: Because I really did not have (good offers) for DeMarcus. In all the conversations I was having with GMs, we weren’t going to get anything. People were scared because of his history. So I felt confident he was going to stay with us, and I was going to work with him, and we would do the best we can. But then I got the offer from the Pelicans a few days before the All-Star Game. That was a difference of, what, two weeks from what I had said to ESPN? Everything changed.
Is it true that you approached Cousins’ agents earlier this year about encouraging him to seek anger management therapy? You would not be the first Kings official to make such a request, by the way. Vlade Divac: Actually, that happened, and this time, they seemed more receptive. But I wasn’t sure if that was because the contract was coming up or what, so I wasn’t sure how to take it. Again, I wanted change, to start over. Acquire assets, build it right. At the same time play hard, play up-tempo, share the ball. Be a team, grow together.
Is there any part of you that wants to talk to Ranadive or Divac? DeMarcus Cousins: Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response. For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?
“I look at this fresh start as a new opportunity,” Cousins told The Vertical. “I can now separate myself from the Sacramento Kings. I’m my own man once again. And what I bring here is basically what I go by, from now on. It’s on myself and the team. It can be a similar situation – or we can make things work and make it something special.” Oddly enough, Cousins said he wasn’t overcome with emotion and didn’t feel any awkward moments as he prepared for his first game with a new team. Perhaps because the Pelicans swapped out their usual red, navy and gold uniforms to wear Mardi Gras uniforms in that familiar purple hue of the Kings – “It won’t go away,” Cousins told The Vertical with a laugh. Maybe because it felt like another road game or he already was used to being in the arena – and the home locker room – after spending All-Star Weekend in the same place, it all seemed normal. Visits to New Orleans generally required a heavy ticket demand, but Cousins is already learning to say no to those expecting more of the same. Cousins only needed 10 tickets for his semi-homecoming.
Rubbing his head and scrolling down his phone while soaking his feet in ice after the game, Cousins was still wearing the game shorts that were created to capture the most exciting time of the year for the people of New Orleans. The disappointment of this loss will soon fade, but Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has encouraged his players not to get discouraged. Just as those street crews are able to sweep up the debris from those enthusiastic parades in time for the morning commute, Cousins is optimistic that the mess in which the Pelicans find themselves can be cleaned up as well. “Honestly, I don’t feel any pressure. I didn’t come here thinking we were going to win a championship,” Cousins told The Vertical. “On paper, we look great, but the game isn’t played on paper. Being good on paper is not going to win games. I think it’s going to be a process, and I think we’re going to be fine.”
Dwyane Wade: I love the way Demarcus Cousins has handled this trade. Like a true pro!!! Great press conference.
James Ham: According to an NBA source, Pelicans pick sent to Kings is top 3 protected in 2017, top 1 protected in 2018-19-20. Unprotected 2021 on.
“I’m sure he’s hurt,” Malone said of Cousins. “He wanted to be in Sacramento. He loved the fans. Sometimes change is good for people. I reached out to him and he got back to me. He’s a lot closer to his home and his family in Mobile, Ala. He’s going to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. The one thing, at the end of the day, that you can say about DeMarcus is that he’s a competitor. He loves to compete and he wants to win. That’s the one thing that has eluded him.”
James Ham: Willie Cauley-Stein said he was driving back from the airport when his friend in the back seat said, “Hey, they just traded Boogie.” Cauley-Stein said he responded with, “No they didn’t, what the hell.” He called his agent, who confirmed the story.
“I was shocked when I heard it,” said Cousins, who learned of the trade after playing in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. “It seemed like I was going to wake up from a dream. It didn’t seem real. It was shocking, but I’ve had time to kind of think about it a little bit. I still don’t think it’s really hit me yet. That’s how it goes.”
“I may not have impacted (the team) in wins and losses the way I wanted to, but I did in a lot of other ways,” Cousins said. “I can kinda leave satisfied with that. Just because I leave doesn’t mean anything changes. I’ve still got love for the city, I’ve still got love for the fans; that’ll never change. I still consider this place a home. The only thing that changes is the name on the front of the jersey.”
After the trade became official Monday, Divac said in a statement, “Winning begins with culture and character matters” – not-so-veiled shots at Cousins. His agents were blamed for making it impossible for the Kings to get a better deal, as they were blamed for the team’s hesitation to hire George Karl as coach two years ago. Cousins said he hadn’t spoken to Divac since the trade and did not take the comments personally. “I’m OK with it,” Cousins said. “I kind of expected it. I’ve seen this before. I’m moving on.”
Marc J. Spears: On why he changed his number to #0, new Pels center DeMarcus Cousins told The Undefeated via text: “New life…” Cousins wore #15 with the Kings.
Contradicting a report from over the weekend, a source told the Free Press the Pistons never engaged the Sacramento Kings on a deal for DeMarcus Cousins, who was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
DeMarcus Cousins: Words can’t even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It’s hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don’t just consider you all as fans, you all are my family…and a couple thousand miles aren’t going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove
Mr. Benson Reacts to Recent Pelicans Trade: “I could not be more excited to add DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans. I know that everyone is thrilled with the anticipation of DeMarcus and Anthony (Davis) and Jrue (Holiday) and the rest of our team hitting the floor tomorrow night against the Houston Rockets. We are only a few games behind in the playoff hunt and I want to bring an NBA championship to this city. I think this trade puts us in a position where we are now more improved and can make a run. The NBA All-Star weekend was a great weekend for New Orleans and Anthony was a worthy MVP, and then we topped it off with a trade for one of the best players in the NBA. I was appreciative of Mickey (Loomis) for keeping me updated daily during the trade talks and I was 110% behind the decision. I hope all of our fans welcome DeMarcus and Omri with open arms to our great city.”
Sean Cunningham: Pelicans GM Del Demps and head coach Alvin Gentry arriving in Sacramento to pick up DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi. pic.twitter.com/lwnFrh2C5r
Jason Jones: Cousins says the past two days have been “emotional” pic.twitter.com/KVDxe3cXrD
Cousins, frankly, scares the hell out of people. Four weeks ago, one highly regarded Western Conference executive told me the Kings would be lucky to get two quality players in return. Two weeks later, an Eastern Conference GM said he appreciated Cousins’ talent but wouldn’t touch the player, let alone a long-term extension. Another GM suggested Cousins needed to be paired with an alpha male, then noted that few of the elite teams possess what Divac coveted: young players and draft choices. That left about a handful of potential partners. The Orlando Magic refused to part with any of their promising youth. The Lakers reportedly declined to include draft picks. The Phoenix Suns shook their heads at swapping Devin Booker. The Boston Celtics, who are laden with picks, never entered the conversation. That left the Pelicans, who turned their attention in recent days from Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor to Cousins, a former Kentucky Wildcat and friend of Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis.
Sean Cunningham: Been a fun ride covering the career of DeMarcus Cousins from the very beginning in Sacramento with the Kings. Best of luck to him, his beautiful family and close friends in New Orleans
According to a league source, the team grew tired of the constant issues on the court. After promising the star big that they had no intentions of moving him during a private meeting on Feb 2, he went out two days later in an overtime win against the Golden State Warriors and picked up his 14th technical foul.
According to a league source, the entire basketball operations side was part of the discussion on the situation, including head coach Dave Joerger. The Kings have built their team around the talented big each of the last seven season with the hope of turning the franchise around. Despite being in the conversation for the eighth seed, the Kings sit nine games under .500 with 25 contest left. Even if they found postseason paydirt, the Golden State Warriors would be waiting in round one.
how pissed is he at vivek? Dave Carmichael: Let’s just say he won’t be exchanging Xmas cards with a few people
Carmichael Dave: My friend (DeMarcus Cousins) got transferred to another city because of his job. He had some things to say. Rough to watch.
League executives are just as baffled as you are by the Kings’ decision to trade DeMarcus Cousins for not much of anything. “They gave Cousins away for a three-piece meal at Popeyes lol,” one source texted me Monday morning. Said another: “It’s just a disgrace.” Kings general manager Vlade Divac will shoulder the blame for botching this trade, especially after he admitted the Kings had a better offer for Cousins two days ago.
Ric Bucher: Source: no one act moved Kings to deal Cousins, but yelling “F*** Golden State” at fans after Feb 5 win over GS was a factor. That, & 17 Ts.
“The Kings got exactly what they wanted,” one NBA talent evaluator said. “They got rid of DeMarcus Cousins.” So might this have any effect on Anthony and his situation? “Absolutely no effect. Zero,” that guy said. “The only thing is once a big domino falls, people get more aggressive and start to talk.”
“I had a better deal two days ago,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said. Um, what? Divac made Sacramento look foolish with that quote, but according to a league source, the problem was more poor communication with the media — something Divac is no stranger to — than terrible trading. According to the source, the potential trade partner made an offer only to pull it once Cousins’ camp threatened the star center wouldn’t re-sign in 2018. Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, publicly said before the New Orleans deal was consummated that it was “highly unlikely” Cousins would re-sign with any team that trades for him.
Another source involved in Cousins trade discussions confirmed Cousins’ camp attempted to dissuade teams from trading for him, though that source did not confirm a pulled offer. It’s unclear whether the Kings could have completed the “better” offer before the other team pulled out. The offer was presented as available to Sacramento for a day or two, according to the first source, though the other team could have always backed away at any point as it received more information.
The Sacramento Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, it was announced today by Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac.
“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”
Bill Herenda: Vlade says this is “best time and best offer” when I asked him why not deal #DeMarcusCousins sooner & r these ideal assets in return #nba pic.twitter.com/0HwixowjnE
Tim Cato: Vlade Divac said the Kings had a better offer for Cousins two days ago. “I don’t want to discuss in details about the process.”
Blake Ellington: Vlade clarified the best offer he referenced two days ago “disappeared”. Think he wanted it clear he didn’t pick this offer over better one
Sean Cunningham: A lot to chew on after hearing from Vlade Divac. He had a better offer that fell through with another team. Settled for N.O. Next best. Said he went to New Orleans All-Star weekend with the thought that he would trade DeMarcus Cousins.
Bill Herenda: Vlade “loves DeMarcus great kid not right fit”
Bill Herenda: Vlade says he told Vivek what he was going to do when asked about owners involvement #CousinsTrade #NBA
Blake Ellington: Vlade Divac made it sound like he made this decision. Not Vivek.
“We’re thrilled to welcome DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans family,” stated Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps. “This is an exciting time for Pelicans fans as we continue our quest for long-term success. I know our fans are equally excited to welcome DeMarcus and Omri to our great city. I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Dennis Lauscha and Mickey Loomis for their continued support and providing the resources for us to be successful. I’d also like to thank Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and Buddy Hield for their professionalism and hard work on the court and in the community during their tenure in New Orleans.”
New Orleans Pelicans: Boogie is coming to New Orleans! #Pelicans #WinTheNight
Sean Cunningham: Most telling quote from Kings GM Vlade Divac in that statement: “Winning begins with culture and character matters.”
Tim MacMahon: Sources say Mavs’ approach to deadline isn’t impacted by DeMarcus Cousins deal. The Mavs won’t pull the plug on fighting for West’s final playoff spot. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Mavs won’t make a trade, but there will not be a fire sale with Dallas veterans.
According to league sources, a Cousins-to-Celtics trade was never going to happen because the Celtics have never had interest in acquiring him. There never were trade talks. There never were offers. Cousins-to-Boston was mostly a pipe dream concocted on the airwaves. It was never a reality, according to the sources.
“It’s not just that he can be emotional on the court,” the source said. “It’s just playing with him every day. Like, when a coach says he can’t coach him, you lose credibility. You can’t sustain things that are important to winning if a coach isn’t able to hold him accountable.” The source emphasized that Cousins was generally viewed as a good person off the court by those around him. “But it’s his on-court demeanor, his play, his effort, that type of stuff,” the source said. “It’s just really hard when you can’t find one basketball person [to vouch for him].”
Baxter Holmes: Source familiar w/ Kings’ thinking: “Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.” Am told that fixation was a key driver in deal.
Steve Kyler: Way Kings handled Cousins situation not going unnoticed in agent community. Most understand moving on but they told him they were committed
Isaiah Thomas: I don’t even think @NBA2K would let that trade happen even with the trade override option off LOL. Ronnie 2K 2K17: @Isaiah_Thomas we don’t lol. Good seeing you this weekend bro.
Marc Stein: The Kings are expected to waive Matt Barnes to make the necessary roster room to complete the DeMarcus Cousins trade, league sources say
Sean Cunningham: Been told that this moment was of trade winds and that DeMarcus Cousins still didn’t know of trade until ride to airport. twitter.com/yahoobdl/statu…
With one swift deal, the Kings jettisoned their greatest headache, restocked a barren cupboard and firmly declared their values: character matters now. “This was a definite culture move,” a person with insight into the trade said. “Enough was enough.”
Sirius XM NBA: . @Adrian Wojnarowski says on our air that it came down to the #Lakers & #Pelicans & that Kings management & the owner went with NOLA’s deal
DeMarcus Cousins was all smiles the moment he appeared to find out about his trade, or at least trade rumors of going, from the Kings to the Pelicans. But once he examines the deal closer, he might not like every aspect. Cousins stands to miss out on a lot of money — about $30 million or more — due to this trade. Because he made All-NBA teams the last two seasons, he was eligible to sign a designated-veteran-player contract extension this summer. As a matter of fact, he reportedly planned to do just that with Sacramento reportedly planning to offer it. That extension projected to be worth $209,090,000 over five years ($41,818,000 annually). But, once officially dealt, Cousins will no longer be eligible for that super-max extension. It’s reserved for players still with their original team or who changed teams only via trade during their first four years.
One NBA GM to ESPN on the Boogie Cousins trade: “It was bad deal. Now New Orleans will pay him close to 200 million. Sacramento just did not want to pay him. Only Vivek wanted him. New Orleans was desperate — and Sacramento is free!”
Andrew Rogers (DeMarcus Cousins’ manager): We don’t even know where to go...
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May 27, 2018 | 11:15 pm EDT Update
Brian Windhorst: LeBron James has won 6 straight Game 7s. He’s won a road game in 32 of last 33 series. He will play in his 9th Finals. This is perhaps the greatest Eastern Conference win of his career.