WARR contributor Josh Hicks offers his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls and the NBA
The NBA became as bright as it can get under the spotlight of all-star weekend in the city of New Orleans last week.
All-star weekend festivities included the centerpiece game Sunday night, featuring the NO’s very own Pelican prodigy Anthony Davis, who brought out his best in a record 52-point performance and a game MVP. As if it couldn’t get any sweeter for the Pels and their city, by the end of the night a trade came across everyone’s attention that that sparked a huge buzz for the home team. As it would turn out, Davis would not be the only all-star the host city could lay claim to coming away from the game.
Former Sacramento Kings franchise center DeMarcus Cousins and Omir Casspi were announced as traded after Sunday’s game to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second round picks.
The trade came as a shock to critics across the league, mostly stemming from an obvious level of confusion between the Kings management and Cousins regarding Boogie’s future in Sacramento, but also because of the paltry sum of players and picks that were able to snag one of the league’s most gifted, if bewildering young players.
For me, the trade was necessary in spite of any perceived imbalance on the give and take.
You can argue, surprisingly, that both teams won in this trade, however the Pelicans have the obvious advantage. Bringing Boogie to the Big Easy does not only put the Pelicans in a positive direction for a playoff push in 2017, but it also increases the credibility of the franchise moving forward into the future.
In the right now phase, the Pelicans have the best big man in the game and arguably one of the best overall players in the league right beside him. Cousins brings the ultimate big man presence defensively that the team has been lacking since they drafted Davis in 2012. From an offensive standpoint, Boogie’s arrival brings balance and assists Davis in the scoring and rebounding departments on a nightly basis. Davis and Cousins create the only tandem to each average 27 points and 11 rebounds so far this season.
That is a lot of fire-power to cause havoc in the paint against opposing big men. For the future, it increases the opportunities for players with options like Russell Westbrook — and maybe a possible NO reunion with Chris Paul — to be in discussion with the Pels during free agency, especially if Boogie, who stands to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017-18 season, commits long-term.
The Kings have taken a lot of hits to their reputation in the wake of the move but it provides them the official stamp of approval to clean up house, start fresh and rebuild from management down to the roster talent. By trading for Hield, Sacramento created an opportunity for the 2016 lottery pick to develop and become a solid piece in their new foundation.
Kings general manager Vlade Divac has mentioned to the media that it was time for them to make a change and develop an acceptable culture with good character.
“Winning begins with culture and character matters,” Divac said in an official release. “With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in the decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.”
With Cousins’ penchant for collecting technical fouls still around him and the team not heading in an upward direction record-wise, there was no reason for the Kings to keep Cousins. The best they could do was save the $209 million dollars allocated for his long-term contract and use it towards drawing new free agents this summer and beyond, the closest one of the NBA’s most maligned franchises can get to being ahead of the curve with its competition.
Joshua M. Hicks is a sports writer and broadcaster and a recent graduate of Roosevelt University, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042