SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 17: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on April 17, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

DeMarcus Cousins has been traded to New Orleans
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demarcus cousins
DeMarcus Cousins has been traded to the Pelicans.

In a huge move, the Sacramento Kings have traded superstar big man DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans.

In return, the Kings receive Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a first round pick (reportedly a slightly protected 2017 pick) and a second round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers, which the Pelicans owned.

The landscape of the NBA is considerably different now than it was an hour ago.

As recently as yesterday, the Kings were telling anyone who would listen that Cousins would not be traded.  For his part, Cousins has spent the entire season talking about his desire to re-sign with the Kings.  That desire only intensified with the inclusion of the expanded super-max contracts in the new CBA.

Cousins pairs with fellow megastar Anthony Davis to form one of the most talented frontcourt duos in the history of the NBA.

The 26-year-old Cousins, who played just two minutes in tonight’s All-Star game, is averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game this season while shooting 45% from the field and 35% from 3-point range (on nearly 5 attempts a game).

Pairing Cousins with the 23-year-old Anthony Davis, who is averaging 27.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 blocks while shooting 50% from the field, is borderline unfair to opposing defenses.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how the pair manages to mesh over the remainder of the season.

One concern for the Pelicans, though, Cousins has stated that he wouldn’t be signing any sort of contract extension with a team, should a trade occur.  So the Pelicans while New Orleans will have a big headstart in re-signing Cousins, they will need to court him all over again this summer.

As hard as it is to give up a talent like Cousins, this sort of trade was long overdue for the Kings.  The team isn’t going anywhere with the current set-up and needed to begin their rebuild as soon as possible.

The big piece heading back to the Pelicans in this trade is rookie shooting guard Buddy Hield.  The former Sooner is averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.4 minutes a game this year.  Known as an elite shooter from the outside, Hield is knocking down nearly 37% of his 3-point attempts so far.

Tyreke Evans seems to be included largely to make the salaries matchup.  The veteran wing is making just over $10 million this season, the final year of his contract.  In 26 games this year, Evans is averaging 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists a game.

Langston Galloway is a 25-year-old shoot-first point guard who is averaging 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20 minutes a night.  His inclusion in the trade could suggest that the Kings are going into full blow-it-up mode before the deadline and could look to deal point guards Darren Collison and Ty Lawson as well.

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