Hello darkness, my old friend.
The Kings trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield and a pick somehow got worse on Monday. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Kings GM Vlade Divac released a statement wishing Cousins well that said "winning begins with culture" and "character matters." That is what we call in the business "shots fired," and putting that out in your farewell letter to one of the best players in franchise history doesn't exactly speak to strong positive culture or high character, now does it?
It got worse. ("Oh, COME ON!" you're exclaiming. "How?!" Watch this.) Divac admitted during his press availability that the Kings had a better offer on the table two days prior, but that offer disappeared, so he took the Pelicans platter. He feared that keeping his options open until the Thursday trade deadline would have resulted in worse and worse offers. This is an innovative way to run a team, let me tell you. Basketball 3.0 for real.
I wrote that while this should be rock bottom for the Kings, it won't be. I also jumped on Limited Upside with Prada and Epstein to talk out the trade. Cousins had an emotional goodbye with friends in Sacramento. It is becoming apparent that the Kings did this deal specifically because the owner is in love with Buddy Hield. Meanwhile, the Sixers are the real winners here.
... And Plenty More
We freshened up Sunday Shootaround's look and then Paul Flannery went out and wrote a damn awesome essay on the NBA taking itself seriously as a social and, to some degree, political force. Check out the whole thing if you like excellent basketball writing (which I think you do).
This is a fascinating story from Kent Babb on Gregg Popovich's long history of using debate as a coping mechanism.
Dave Zirin on why the NBA is in revolt against Trump.
Zach Lowe breaks down the NBA trade deadline, which is just about 48 hours away.
David Aldridge shares 56 thoughts on the Cousins trade.
Indiana is dangling its first-round pick to find help for Paul George.
The Wolves are talking to the Knicks about Derrick Rose.
Royce Young writes that one alley-oop can't heal the Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant divide.
An interesting explanation as to why black sports uniforms are no longer in vogue: they are harder to see on phones.
Interesting and timely piece by Chris Herring on why Boogie's shot gets blocked so frequently.
Phenomenal first part of a series from Rick Telander on how violence affects one high school team in Chicago. Via REDEF.
Shout out to the winners of the Professional Basketball Writers Association Blumenthal Memorial Writing Contest, including our Paul Flannery, who won honorable mention in game stories.
Be excellent to each other.