All-star weekend, one of the most exciting parts of the NBA season, wasn’t just that way because of the skills challenge, dunk contest and high-scoring all-star game. All the league’s greats gathered to participate in these events. From Glenn Robinson III outright dominating the dunk contest, to a center winning the skills challenge, but even more controversially than that, Russell Westbrook, one the league’s most explosive point guards, not being named a starter, it was pure entertainment.
All-star weekend is jam-packed with all sorts of twists and unexpected events, but the biggest of surprises came right after the events of all-star weekend. The Sacramento Kings made one of the most controversial trades of the year: They traded Demarcus Cousins, who could be considered the best player on that team, to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The full trade details from CBSSports.com stated it was Demarcus Cousins and Omri Caspi for Buddy Held, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick.
So the Kings essentially traded their best player for no one. Demarcus Cousins is averaging a double-double this season, with averages of 19.5 points per game and 14.5 rebounds per game according to NBA.com. Buddy Held is averaging 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and is the best player the Kings received from this trade. None of these players are as explosive as Demarcus Cousins, and the Kings have made a grave mistake.
They could’ve traded anyone else and it would’ve been a better choice. The Kings needed to build around their best player. Instead, they gave him to the Pelicans, who already have a very dominant big man in Anthony Davis. The Pelicans basically got a steal. Together, these two can be the most dominant front court. In the last game the Pelicans played after this trade, Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins both scored more than 30 points.
The rest of the season could be looking up for the Pelicans. The Kings, on the other hand, are in for a downward spiral. Since this trade, they are 1-1, losing to the Hornets by 14 and beating the Nuggets by 16.
Both of these teams have losing records and should’ve been easy wins for the Kings, but with the loss of their star they weren’t able to get the wins that they need. Having a losing record themselves, the Kings needed these wins to be able to slip into the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see where the Kings end up at the end of the season.