In return, the Kings received rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a 2017 first- and second-round pick. Sacramento also dealt Omri Casspi to New Orleans as part of the trade.
The Kings are expected to waive Langston Galloway, per The Vertical, and Evans’ $10.2 million contract expires at the end of the season.
Hield, easily the darling of the deal, averaged 8.6 points per game on 36.4-percent three-point shooting for the Pelicans, who selected him sixth overall in 2016. He is a promising perimeter scoring prospect with the potential to develop into a deadeye shooter in the years to come.
The Kings begin looking to the future in acquiring Hield and two 2017 draft picks, but the trade as a whole amounts to pennies on the dollar for a three-time All-Star regarded as the best scoring center in the league.
Sacramento tried to trade Boogie to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal involving Brandon Ingram, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but the Lakers were unwilling to part ways with their rookie wing as part of the trade.
So why didn’t anyone else make an offer for Cousins?
Cousins leads the NBA with 19 technical fouls, but is one of the league’s most dominant big men, averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
If the Kings were so hard-pressed to move on from their center that they sold on him for much less than equal value, you’d think other teams would have swooped down on the opportunity to acquire an all-world talent at the center position.
The Boston Celtics have more attractive trade assets than any other team and could have used Cousins’ services in response to Toronto’s trade for Serge Ibaka. But they passed on the opportunity to acquire Sacramento’s center, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
According to text from league exec, Celtics have NOT been one of the teams trying to get DeMarcus Cousins today.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) February 20, 2017
The Celtics reserve the right to swap first-round picks with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2017 NBA Draft and own the Nets 2018 first-rounder outright. They could also own Memphis’ or the Los Angeles Clippers first-round pick in 2019.
Boston also has a bevy of young guards, including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Terry Rozier. It could have easily put together a trade package more attractive than New Orleans’.
Kings have not been seeking equal value in Cousins deal, source tells @TheVertical. Young talent, draft picks, expiring contracts primarily.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) February 20, 2017
Even the Lakers could have found a work-around on the Ingram front to put together an attractive package to pry Boogie from Sacramento, though the Kings lost all interest without the rookie forward on the table, per ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.
Maybe it’s because of Boogie’s looming free agency.
Any team making an offer on Cousins did so knowing his unrestricted free agency is just a year away. Boogie can test the market in the summer of 2018, and his agent told ESPN.com the odds of him re-signing with a team that trades for him were slim to none.
Akana: "Under the circumstances ... I would find it highly unlikely DeMarcus would re-sign with a team that trades for him at this point"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2017
With that in mind, it’s near impossible for a team like Boston risk its future on an uncertainty. Cousins’ contract expires at the end of the 2017-18 season, but New Orleans is reportedly confident it will be able to convince him to re-sign.
Boogie is from Mobile, Alabama, just a two-hour drive from his new home. He and his new co-star, Anthony Davis, are both Kentucky products, and the Pelicans are just 2.5 games out of the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
And if the Pelicans can indeed keep he and Davis together for the long haul, they’ll form one of the conference’s most feared teams.
New Orleans is the clear winner in the trade — any team landing Cousins would have been. The Kings just didn’t need to lose by so much.