Kings trade Cousins to Pelicans in post-All-Star Game blockbuster

By Brandon Schlager 21 February 2017 321
Kings trade Cousins to Pelicans in post-All-Star Game blockbuster

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi in a huge trade with the Sacramento Kings.

The two minutes, 27 seconds Cousins spent on court in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game turned out to be a showcase for what was to come.

It was confirmed on Monday that Cousins and Casspi are bound for New Orleans, with Sacramento getting guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway and two 2017 second-round picks.

"We’re thrilled to welcome DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans family,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said in a statement.

"This is an exciting time for Pelicans fans as we continue our quest for long-term success. I know our fans are equally excited to welcome DeMarcus and Omri to our great city."

The news unfolded gradually on Sunday as rumours distracted from All-Star Weekend's main event.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was growing increasingly uneasy about committing upward of $200 million on a long-term extension for Cousins, and a number of NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, reportedly moved in on discussions to claim the three-time All-Star at long last.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization," Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac said.

"Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.

"We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

Cousins' time in Sacramento always seemed tenuous, especially in the last three seasons that were marred by near-constant trade rumours and controversy with coaches and front-office personnel.

In the end, Ranadive opted to start anew in changing the culture that, at times, grew sour with Cousins as the centre of attention.

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Brandon Schlager