The Sacramento Kings trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans is seen by many as a lopsided exchange, in favor of the latter. On Monday, Kings GM Vlade Divac may have made things worse as he revealed that a “better deal” was in front of him before he said yes to the Pelicans.
Earlier this week, a Sacramento Kings trade shook the basketball world. The Kings finally parted ways with Cousins, although the move was heavily criticized. Instead of trying to maximize the All-Star’s value, they settled for a group of players who are yet to have a significant impact in the league, plus a couple of 2017 draft picks.
The Kings shipped Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to New Orleans. In return, Sacramento welcomed back former Rookie of the Year (2010) Tyreke Evans, who came with Langston Galloway and 2016 6th overall pick Buddy Hield. A first- and second-rounder for this year were also included.
NBA and Kings’ fans believe the Pelicans are the clear winners of this trade. Some asked why the Kings easily pulled the trigger and did not wait for a greater opportunity, with the NBA trade deadline still a few days away when the deal was made official. In a report by the Associated Press, Divac had the answer.
“Most likely we would get less because I had a better deal two days ago,” Divac shared Monday. The former Sacramento star then chose to be confidential and divulged no details regarding his statement. As of this moment, nobody knows what this truly means. Maybe there were greater offers placed on the table, but as the trade deadline nears, the quality of these diminished which forced him to strike a deal with the Pelicans.
Divac also spoke about Cousins saying he loves their former franchise star and hopes this trade will have “a positive effect” on the big man’s career.
According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, one of the major reasons why the Kings trade happened is Hield. In a tweet, Holmes, citing a source, reported that Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé “thinks” the rookie out of Oklahoma could be a future Stephen Curry. This was surprising since the 23-year-old is having a subpar showing in his debut year.
Source familiar w/ Kings’ thinking: "Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.” Am told that fixation was a key driver in deal.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 20, 2017
Before Hield headed to Sacramento, he played 57 games (37 starts) for New Orleans and averaged 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, with 1.4 assists per game. During his collegiate career, he is known for his three-point shooting. Unfortunately, the ex-Sooners is having difficulties with his outside attempts in the NBA.
For The Win compared Hield’s three-point shooting percentage this season to the one Curry had during his first year in the league. Hield is just hitting 36.9 percent from the three-point area this season while a rookie Curry was at 43.7 percent. It was explained in the report that from the moment Curry turned pro, there were already signs he would be a terrific shooter. On the other hand, Hield still has a lot of improvements to make.
Aside from Hield, the Kings are thrilled with the 2017 picks they got from the trade. Divac has strong faith for the upcoming draft class and for him, these can grant them a new beginning.
The Kings return to action on Thursday taking on the Denver Nuggets. This game will start a five-game home stand for them. It is uncertain if all their new acquisitions would play in the contest. The same can be said for Cousins who might make his Pelicans debut on the same day when his new team faces the Houston Rockets.
Sacramento Kings trade talks are expected to continue with the NBA deadline fast approaching. However, a massive deal may no longer take place following the departure of their most valuable asset.
[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]