When the Sacramento Kings took the bold step in trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans they took a lot of heat for a move that most deemed didn’t fetch enough in return.
That part might still be true but the concept of moving Cousins makes even more sense to me now than it did even then, and I thought it made sense then.
By moving Cousins, the Kings were allowed to play some of their young pieces for the remainder of the season. We have seen increased minutes for Willie Cauley-Stein and increased production.
Since Cousins moved we finally got to see Skal Labissiere on the floor and that is giving a lot of Kings fans hope of a bright future for him.
Big Papa has been given some minutes lately too and has shown some signs of someone who could contribute to this team in years to come.
They also added Langston Galloway who has been a good bench player and the main piece of the trade was Buddy Hield. If you look at what Buddy has done lately since joining the Kings the numbers have been really good. Buddy has scored in double figures in 14 of the 16 games with the Kings. He is averaging 14.7 ppg while shooting 50%.
By doing this move the Kings avoided their worst case scenario in my opinion. The worst thing that could have happened was to play the veterans all season and finish just short of the playoffs. Finish the year in 9th or 10th, lose your pick, not trade Rudy or DeMarcus and not grow any of the young guys would have been the worst thing they could have done.
I think if they kept DeMarcus they would probably have a few more wins but not the 7 they would need right now to be tied with Portland and Denver for that last spot.
Also the Kings have 2 potential early 1st round picks coming their way. Watching the NCAA tournament over the last couple of weeks you can see how a couple of these young college players could really help this team. Draft 2 guys that can help, grow Willie, Skal, and Buddy while mixing in some veterans along with Coach Joerger and I really believe they are on the slow climb up.
It won’t happen overnight and this organization has to keep making the right steps but the one they made at the All-Star break was the first one needed to get this going in the proper direction.