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DeMarcus Cousins trade to Pelicans happened because the Kings love Buddy Hield too much

Sacramento thinks so highly of Hield that they made a bad trade with New Orleans.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone loves Buddy Hield, a rags-to-riches success story who grew up shooting on a handmade basketball hoop who has an infectious, friendly personality. The Kings, though, might love him a little too much.

A large reason why Sacramento was willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday was reportedly because they were getting Hield back in return, who they saw as a top-five talent in last year’s draft. (Hield ended up going No. 6 in a weak draft.)


Hield is a 23-year-old rookie who is having a decent first season in the league, struggling to start the year but heating up in December when New Orleans moved him into the starting lineup. The ceiling on his growth — given his average-at-best athleticism and older age as compared to others in his draft class — isn’t particularly high. It’s definitely not Stephen Curry high. That’s not to say he can’t develop into a very solid NBA player, but he will never become a Cousins-level superstar. Cousins is only three years older than him! He’s even hit more threes this season.

Still, Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac loves him anyway. He watched him drop 28 points in the Rising Stars Challenge, for what it’s worth.

The Kings unfortunately have a long history of loving players who don’t turn out to be great NBA players, though their most egregious draft picks in the past decade came before Divac took over as general manager in 2015. Hield will hopefully develop into a J.J. Redick-type player for the Kings, but it’s another strike against Sacramento if they really valued him so highly that they were willing to make an objectively bad trade to get Cousins out of town.

Who won the Cousins trade? The Sixers.