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DeMarcus Cousins says the Kings’ handling of his trade was a ‘coward move’

Sacramento traded its three-time All-Star after repeated assurances to the contrary.

Houston Rockets v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Let’s just say DeMarcus Cousins is not a fan of the way the Sacramento Kings handled the trade that moved him from the only NBA franchise he’s ever known.

The Kings dealt Cousins (and Omri Casspi) to the New Orleans Pelicans in a ground-breaking trade just moments after the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. In exchange, they received rookie shooting guard Buddy Hield, point guard Langston Galloway, ex-Kings guard Tyreke Evans, and New Orleans’ 2017 first- and second-round picks.

Cousins said Kings general manager Vlade Divac attempted to contact him after the trade. Boogie didn’t answer, nor does he feel the need to talk to any of Sacramento’s management, including owner Vivek Ranadive.

“Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response,” he said in an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “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?”

The trade came after repeated assurances from Sacramento management to Cousins and his representatives that the team would not trade the three-time All-Star before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. Those assurances included a text from Ranadive right before All-Star break, asking Cousins how he felt about a player to acquire in a prospective trade.

Cousins said the correct way to handle his trade would have been “like a man. Like a professional.”

“[I was told I wouldn’t get traded] a week before the trade. The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent [Jarinn Akana],” Cousins said. “We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and [he] told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.”

In a video that hit social media after his trade, an emotional Cousins addressed his closest friends and fans in a restaurant in Sacramento. He teared up while telling those around him he would never change.

Cousins said it was his longtime equipment manager, Miguel Lopez, who reduced him to tears.

“It hit me like, ‘This s— is really happening,’” he said.

Now in New Orleans, Cousins is on to the second chapter of his NBA career. He joins All-Star starter Anthony Davis and one-time All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday as the Pelicans look to make a surge toward the playoffs in the second half of the season.

During his introductory press conference, Cousins told reporters he’s all in in New Orleans. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018, but Boogie said he’s been welcomed by the Pelicans players and staff so far.

“It has been amazing. It has been great. Everybody has been good (to me),” Cousins said. “I’m not here to B.S. or waste time. I’m here to win. Whatever the system is, I’m dialed in.

“I’m not here to waste time. I’m not.”