Cousins in blockbuster trade from Kings to Pelicans

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2017   •   3005

FILE PHOTO: Report claims that the Sacramento Kings All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins is “virtually untouchable” in trade deals. Reuters/Godofredo Vasquez

(The Sports Xchange) – The Sacramento Kings made official on Monday that center DeMarcus Cousins is heading to the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade involving five players and two draft picks.

Cousins, the centerpiece of the deal, and forward Omri Casspi are heading to the Big Easy in exchange for rookie guard Buddy Hield, swingman Tyreke Evans, guard Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick obtained from the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 6-foot-11 Cousins, who is averaging a career-best 27.8 points in his seventh season, will form a dominant frontcourt with Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who averages 27.7 points and is coming off a record 52-point performance in the All-Star Game.

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

“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.”

Although Cousins can be a free agent after next season and Sacramento considered signing him to a five-year contract extension worth approximately $210 million last month, his departure ends a tumultuous 6 1/2 seasons for the fifth overall draft pick in 2010.

Cousins, who leads the league with 17 technical fouls, clashed with coaches and the media at times but has lifted his scoring average in each of the last four seasons.

“He’s a great player, dominant in this league, of course, with all the numbers he put up,” Davis said Sunday immediately after reports of the trade surfaced. “DeMarcus is an elite player in this league.”

Both Cousins and Davis were college standouts at the University of Kentucky, with Davis selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft.

Evans returns to Sacramento, which selected him in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 2009 draft. He earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors and averaged 17.5 points in four seasons with the Kings before being sent to New Orleans in a three-team trade in July 2013.

Evans, who has an expiring contract, averaged 9.5 points in 26 games this season after returning from a knee injury.

Hield was selected by the Pelicans with the No. 6 overall pick out of Oklahoma last June. In 57 games, he is averaging 8.6 points.

Galloway also averaged 8.6 points in 55 games for the Pelicans after spending his first two seasons with the New York Knicks. According to initial reports after the trade, Galloway is expected to be waived.

Casspi, 28, is averaging 5.9 points in 22 games this season. He hasn’t played since Jan. 13 due to a calf injury.

To make room on the roster, Divac announced the Kings waived veteran forward Matt Barnes, who is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.

(Editing by Andrew Both)

Report: Lakers expected to make immediate push for Davis

UNTV News   •   January 30, 2019

FILE PHOTO: New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks over Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and forward Kevon Looney (5) during the third quarter in game three of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Smoothie King Center. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to make an aggressive play to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans before next week’s trade deadline, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The Lakers are poised to reach out to New Orleans’ brass soon, but the Pelicans made it clear Monday that they are in no rush to deal Davis, saying, “we will do this on our timeline.”

The trade deadline is Feb. 7.

Per the ESPN report, the Lakers are willing to part with a combination of picks and players, including Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball to acquire Davis.

The Lakers reportedly will have competition from the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, both of whom are preparing offers. However, the Celtics are unable to acquire Davis until after July 1 due to a roster restriction in the CBA that prevents teams from having more than one “Rose Rule” players acquired via trade, and Boston acquired Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in 2017.

Davis’ agent Rich Paul informed the club this past weekend that Davis would not sign an extension and wants to be traded.

Davis signed a five-year, $127 million contract before the 2016-17 season. The fifth year is a player option, so Davis could become a free agent in the summer of 2020. He would have been eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million supermax extension this summer, but has eschewed that in order to win and play for a big-market team.

The Pelicans selected Davis with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. He has been named first-team All-NBA three times and has appeared in five All-Star games. He turns 26 in March.

Davis is averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game this season. He has missed the past four games with a fractured left index finger.

—Field Level Media

Lakers boast .500 record after win over Kings

UNTV News   •   November 12, 2018

The Lakers’ LeBron James speaks during a news conference on Monday in El Segundo, California. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS

The Los Angeles Lakers have a .500 record for the first time this season after a 101-86 win against the host Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

LeBron James scored 25 points for Los Angeles, which has won four of five and six of nine. The Lakers have another winnable game Sunday against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

Brandon Ingram had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma scored 11 apiece for the Lakers. Tyson Chandler had a team-high 12 rebounds off the bench in his second game since joining the Lakers.

De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points to lead Sacramento. Marvin Bagley III had 13 points off the bench and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who had won six of eight coming in.

Kuzma made a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 53-44. Los Angeles missed its next seven shots, including three open 3-point attempts on one possession, which would have extended the lead back to double digits.

At the same time, the Kings went on a 7-0 run to get within 53-51 and they pulled as close as one point on two occasions before Lakers backup point guard Rajon Rondo capped a 10-0 run by hitting a wide-open 3-pointer for a 67-56 lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The Lakers took a 76-65 lead into the fourth and Lance Stephenson sank a 3-pointer off a loose ball on the first possession, extending the lead back to 14. They soon went up by 20 on Josh Hart’s 3 with 8:01 left and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

The Lakers led by 16 midway through the second quarter before taking a 50-44 lead into the half.

James led the way with 15 points in the first half for the Lakers.

—Field Level Media

Pelicans’ Cousins-Davis pairing looking to buck trend

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2017

Mar 3, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) celebrates with forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) after a basket during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Smoothie King Center. The Spurs defeated the Pelicans 101-98 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are conducting a big man experiment that is as potentially promising and combustible as their new center, DeMarcus Cousins.

By pairing the bruising Cousins alongside elastic forward Anthony Davis, the Pelicans own the NBA’s most dynamic post duo but it may also be the riskiest.

New Orleans traded three players and two draft picks to Sacramento last month to acquire Cousins, as well as since-waived forward Omri Casspi.

It was a reasonable price for a standout like Cousins, but one that came with accelerated expectations.

New Orleans are just 2-5 since the move, and one of the wins came with Cousins serving a one-game suspension for receiving his 18th technical foul of the season.

“You just need time to be able to place guys in situations where they can be successful,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told Reuters before Sunday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“If you look at the numbers, (Cousins and Davis) have played great. It’s incorporating a player of (Cousins’) stature into the whole mix. It’s not something that happens overnight.”

The Pelicans (25-39), though, are short on time. They have 18 games remaining in the regular season and are 3-1/2 games back of a playoff spot.

Next season will be the last one on Cousins’ contract before he becomes a free agent. More than wins, New Orleans needs to produce positive signs that their tandem can lead them to a winning future.

The two have shown moments of synergy, like combining for 57 points and 24 rebounds to beat the Lakers 105-97 on Sunday.

“We were talking more (on the court). He told me what he was going to do and we’re trying to play off each other,” Davis told reporters after the win.

Added Cousins: “We’re definitely getting better each game. It’s just about learning each other’s tendencies.”

While Davis moves seamlessly from perimeter to paint, Cousins is a lumbering force who is at odds with the NBA’s faster and smaller model.

On and off the court, Cousins is a looming presence that demands notice – in contrast to the softer spoken Davis who has been the face of the franchise since they drafted him first overall in 2012.

Davis and the Pelicans now have to make extra room for Cousins in hope that time will render an ideal fit.

“It’s hard when a team already had their set chemistry and you add a piece like myself,” Cousins said. — By Jahmal Corner | LOS ANGELES

(Editing by Frank Pingue)


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