The Sacramento Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and 2017 second-rounder, sources told ESPN.
The first-round pick is top-three protected, sources said.
The Pelicans say they feel confident they can eventually re-sign Cousins, who is from nearby Mobile, Alabama, to a long-term extension, a league source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Kings have an agreement with the Pelicans to deal DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento’s supremely talented but temperamental center. Here’s some answers on some key issues surrounding the deal.
What are the Pelicans getting in DeMarcus Cousins from a statistical perspective?
Cousins is putting up great numbers and the Pelicans can definitely use another player with his rebounding skills. But are there things to be wary of.
“I don’t think they would have done the trade without a lot of confidence they could re-sign him,” said a source with knowledge of the Pelicans’ thinking.
Earlier Sunday night, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, told ESPN that Cousins, 26, probably would decline to sign a contract extension this summer with any team that trades for him before Thursday’s deadline.
“I have spoken many times recently with [Kings owner] Vivek [Ranadive] and [general manager] Vlade [Divac] about DeMarcus’ future with the Kings,” Akana told ESPN.
“They have assured me, and DeMarcus, that the Kings won’t trade him, and are committed to signing DeMarcus long term. In fact, Vlade has gone on record saying exactly the same thing. If the Kings flip-flop on what they committed, that is on them.
“Under the circumstances and given the Kings’ commitments, I would find it highly unlikely that DeMarcus would re-sign with a team that trades for him at this point.”
On Feb. 6, Divac told ESPN, “We’re not trading DeMarcus. … We hope he’s here for a long time.”
Cousins, for his part, told Shelburne on Thursday that he intended to sign an extension with the Kings this summer because he wanted his “legacy to end in Sacramento” and his “jersey to be in the rafters in Sacramento.”
Kings GM Vlade Divac told ESPN on Feb. 6 that the team would not trade DeMarcus Cousins, but reversed course on Sunday night, agreeing to deal Cousins to New Orleans in exchange for a package centered on Buddy Hield and draft picks, sources told ESPN.
The Pelicans were very close to a deal for Jahlil Okafor about 10 days ago, sources told Shelburne, offering a similar package that didn’t include Hield. But the deal fell apart over differences on the protections of the first-round pick involved.
New Orleans had also made inquiries about Indiana Pacers star Paul George ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline in the hopes of landing another All-Star to pair with franchise player, and newly minted All-Star Game MVP, Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN’s Justin Verrier.
Davis was informed of the trade as he walked away from the podium following his MVP performance, greeting the news with a smile and a big thumbs-up.
“This is an unbelievable weekend,” Davis told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie. It doesn’t get better than this.”
Davis told Goodman he hasn’t heard anything official from management or talked to Cousins yet.
Boogie On The Move
DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 27.8 points per game this season, the third most of any player to be traded more than five games into a season, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
Highest PPG At Time Of Midseason Trade
Cousins, who is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds, played only two minutes in Sunday night’s All-Star Game. He was flying back to Sacramento on a private plane with his assistants and family and is expected to return to New Orleans on Tuesday, a source told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears.
The Pelicans will need to add backcourt depth after this trade. Sources indicate the majority of the minutes will go to Tim Frazier. But New Orleans also has an interesting option in D-Leaguer Quinn Cook.
League sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that the Pelicans are now seeking a trade partner for forward Terrence Jones, a mutual decision on behalf of the team and Jones’ camp.
The Los Angeles Lakers also were engaged in Cousins trade talks with the Kings but felt Sacramento’s asking price was too high, a source told Shelburne. The Kings told the Lakers that without 2016 No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram, they weren’t interested. Sources say talks didn’t progress much further than that.
The Kings get a player with a lot of potential in the 6-foot-4 Hield, although he has been inconsistent during his rookie season out of Oklahoma, where as a senior he was one of the best players in the nation.
Hield is averaging 8.6 points but has been explosive at times, with a season high of 21 points. The 6-foot-6 Evans, who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward, will be entering a second stint in Sacramento, where he was drafted in 2009 and went on to be rookie of the year. Galloway has been a solid reserve, providing scoring punch from the perimeter.
The 6-foot-9 Casspi has been playing about 19 minutes per game for the Kings this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.