Last night according to multiple sources, the Sacramento Kings finally decided to cut bait on DeMarcus Cousins in the wake of possibly signing him to a 5-year, $200 million contract this offseason. Sacramento has sent their franchise player to the Pelicans in a deal that has sent shockwaves across the NBA.
Here is the trade as it has been reported:
- Pelicans: DeMarcus Cousins & Omri Casspi
- Kings: Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, 2017 NOP 1st Round Pick (top-3 protected), and 2017 PHI 2nd Round Pick (Ish Smith trade)
We will see how Cousins will co-exist with Anthony Davis in New Orleans, but for now, let’s break down how this trade affects the Sixers in both the short-term and long-term.
1) With this trade, the 2019 unprotected first round pick the Sixers are owed from the Kings becomes perhaps the league’s greatest asset.
– Sixers fans were already aware that the Sixers were going to receive the Kings’ first round pick the year after DeMarcus Cousins became an unrestricted free agent, but now this pick is even more valuable. Cousins is one of the best players in the entire league and he was the only keeping the team afloat amidst years of terrible drafting and poor free agent decisions. Without Cousins, the Kings’ talent level drastically decreases. That 2019 pick could be the icing on the cake for a Sixers team that could be well entrenched in the playoff race a couple years down the road.
2) The pick swap is back in play
– The Kings currently have the 11th worst record in the NBA (24-33), so if the draft were today, the Kings would send its pick to Chicago. But the Kings are just 3.5 games in front of the 4th worst record (21-37). The Sixers entered the All-Star Break with a 21-35 record, and with Joel Embiid set to return soon, there is a very good possibility that the Sixers can pass the Kings in the standings by the end of the season. There have also been reports that the Kings are going to sell off its remaining pieces that will hit free agency soon (Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Anthony Tolliver, Arron Afflalo, and Ben McLemore) as they start their rebuilding process. It would take a lot of maneuvering for the Kings to finish with a bottom-three record, but the incentive to win games in Philadelphia drastically increased as the Sixers can fall back on the Kings (and possibly the Lakers) at the top of the 2017 draft.
3) Has the Jahlil Okafor trade market completely evaporated?
– Two teams that had previously had interest in Okafor (Portland and New Orleans) made deals for other big men. The Sixers nearly had a deal with both teams, but with the Nurkic and Cousins deals, they are now off the market. The Bulls still might have interest, as well as some other contenders in need of another piece (Raptors, Celtics, Spurs), or bad teams looking to add some young talent (Kings, Magic, Mavericks). The chances of doing any deal for Okafor before the deadline has taken a big hit, but this Cousins trade has provided more value than anything the Sixers could hope for in a return for Jah. So now it seems likely that Okafor will remain a Sixer for the rest of the season.
4) Sam Hinkie: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
– From the moment that the deal was consummated in July of 2015, Sam Hinkie cemented his legacy with the lopsided deal he made with the Kings. In exchange for taking on salary (Jason Thompson and Carl Landry), the Sixers were given a flier on Nik Stauskas, two pick swaps, and a possible unprotected first round pick, while giving up nothing (two second round picks). This trade will be Hinkie’s Magna Carta, as the Sixers grow with its existing talent, they will have the pick swap and unprotected pick in its back pocket. Sam Hinkie always talked about having the longest view in the room, but I don’t even he saw this coming.
We are years away from seeing the true impact of this Cousins deal, as superstars aren’t traded that often, but Sixers fans can still get excited at the possibility that the Kings’ demise will benefit the franchise for years to come. Let’s just hope Bryan Colangelo doesn’t screw it up.
Photo: Flickr (via Wikimedia Commons)