Pelicans’ Cousins-Davis pairing looking to buck trend

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2017   •   2658

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)

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

Cousins rips Kings, calls trade to New Orleans ‘coward move’

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2017

Feb 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; DeMarcus Cousins (15) moves the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins lashed out at Sacramento Kings management, terming Sunday’s trade to the New Orleans Pelicans as “a coward move.”

Cousins’ sentiments were published by The Undefeated website on Friday, one night after the Pelicans were routed 129-99 in his New Orleans debut.

Cousins was asked if he would like to speak to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive or general manager Vlade Divac to hear why the team’s guarantee not to trade him didn’t hold up.

“Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response,” Cousins said. “For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types …

“I was there with (coach) Mike Malone’s (firing in 2014). I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?”

Cousins feels betrayed by Divac, who recently stopped by Cousins’ house and told him he wouldn’t be traded and discussed ways to improve the team.

“The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent (Jarinn Akana),” Cousins said. “We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and (he) told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.

“I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star (Game). He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand.”

Cousins heard rumors before the start of the All-Star Game that he might be headed to New Orleans. Then as he was about to meet with the media after the contest, Kings media relations director Chris Clark whispered in his ear that “there is serious talk about you possibly being moved.”

Cousins learned about the deal being official later that night but he didn’t hear the news from Ranadive or Divac. He said it should’ve been handled differently.

“Like a man. Like a professional. The more those guys talk, the more things come out,” Cousins said. “It’s just crazy. This ain’t something that happened in a few days. It has been discussed with more than one team. I just don’t understand.”

In January, the rumors were that the Kings planned to offer Cousins a five-year, $207 million contract extension. Before February ended, his Sacramento tenure was over.

Cousins had 27 points and 14 rebounds in his first game with New Orleans but the Pelicans were run out of the building by the Houston Rockets. His new All-Star sidekick, Anthony Davis, tallied 29 points.

“For some reason, I guess people expected a championship,” said Cousins, who is averaging 27.8 points and 10.7 rebounds. “I know the reality of it. We’ve had one practice and a shootaround. This isn’t something that is just going to happen overnight. Do we look good on paper? Yes. But being good on paper doesn’t win games.”

Cousins contract runs out after the 2017-18 season and he says he will consider signing a long-term contract with his new franchise.

“I’m not here to B.S. or waste time. I’m here to win,” Cousins said. “Whatever the system is, I’m dialed in. I’m all in. I’m not here to waste time. I’m not.”

(Editing by Andrew Both)

Cousins in blockbuster trade from Kings to Pelicans

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2017

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)

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