IMDB: Bye Bye Boogie (2017)

With all of the chaos that has ensued after the Sacramento Kings traded away DeMarcus Cousins I think it’s important the government sends care packages to the city of Sacramento. These past few days have been like a bad movie playing over and over in Sacramento but getting Oscar hype in New Orleans. As a current resident of the city and die hard fan of the Sacramento Kings, I have witnessed a lot of grief and embarrassment through social media, local radio, and national news reports. As I currently listen to the radio and the comments and opinions that come with it, I can’t help but come to the realization that no one knows what is going on; not even the front office. In a lot of ways, the fans’ voicing their displeasure with what has happened reminds me a lot of the 5 stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Although acceptance hasn’t yet approached the majority of fans, it will soon be reached.

Cousins as a member of the Kings and his new teammate, Anthony Davis | SLAMonline

Once all of the negative feelings and emotions calm and reality settles in, this trade will be discussed in a more intellectual way. From my own personal feelings and from those who voice their opinions through the media, no one is against trading away Cousins; they’re against the return. To clarify, the Sacramento Kings traded away a top 5/top 10 talent to the Pelicans for rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, 2017 New Orleans 1st Round Pick (1–3 Protected) and Philadelphia 2nd Round Pick. This didn’t seem like much of a return. Hield is an old rookie at age 23 and has yet to prove any above average talent in the NBA, Evans is a former King and his contract expires after this season, Galloway is a 2 year player who plays shooting guard, and the 1st round pick cannot be used if the Pelicans lose the lottery which means the Kings can hope for, at best, the 4th overall pick. The Kings also sent away Omri Casspi as part of the trade which isn’t bad by any means because Casspi has been injured and even when healthy has not contributed. However, this trade forces the Kings to drop a player off of their roster because this trade would put more players on their roster than they’re allowed to have. Because of this, the Kings were forced to waive a solid role player and veteran Matt Barnes. Barnes was seen by many Kings’ players as a great teammate, but the Kings are adamant about changing the culture of the locker room so it’s clear that Barnes is the odd man out. Also, with the Rudy Gay injury, trade of Casspi, and waiving of Barnes, there are no more SF to play the position which forces the team to play small. In fact, their have to rotate they’re many shooting guards into the position. The Kings, once limited in the shooting guard position are now over populated in the area with the likes of Evans, Hield, Ben McLemore, Garrett Temple, Arron Afflalo and Malachi Richardson. With this in mind, it’s clear the Kings are abandoning the season and rebooting their team.

Stephen A. Smith talks about the Boogie Cousins trade on ESPN’s First Take

With the loss of Cousins, it’s safe to say the Kings are starting from scratch and believe the Boogie era was never going to be one of success. So far, there has never been a winning season with him on the team. Season records since he has entered the league are as follows: 24, 22, 28, 28, 29, 33, 24. Not to mention his inability to change his on the court attitude year after year. He promised to change and the Kings organization has tried to help guide Cousins into being more of a leader and less of an emotional liability. Unfortunately nothing has changed. In fact, during the 2016–2017 season, Cousins became the fastest player ever to trigger the 16th technical suspension. It was officially clear that nothing was going to change regarding his attitude. There are many other instances such as his constant bullying of the press and yelling at teammates, coaches, and officials, but it’s also clear that it’s not all of his fault by any means. The front office, ownership, and coaching staff of the Kings has been anything but consistent. Cousins has gone through an ownership change, seven coaches, and constant front office shuffling. During that time, when he finally got a coach he respected (Mike Malone) the Kings sacked him due to their own egotistical ways. In fact, if ownership left everything alone and allowed the Kings to develop, they’d quite possibly have Malone as their head coach, Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, and Hassan Whiteside. Imagine that team…actually I can’t. It’s just too sad.

Even when the Kings decided to finally pull the trigger on Cousins and press the reset button, they appeared to go through the process entirely wrong. On February 6th, Kings GM, Vlade Divac, told Marc Stein of ESPN, “We’re not trading Cousins,” and yet almost two weeks later he pulled the trigger. Maybe he wasn’t receiving offers at that time, maybe ownership was telling him no, maybe at that moment he actually believed Cousins was the future, but despite all of those possibilities, he put himself into a hole. Now that he actually made the trade, he looks like a liar. Of course all GMs and agents lie at times, but this was a big one; it was in the spotlight and now it’s hard to say many players, agents, or GMs will trust him. It would appear that he’s over his head with the responsibilities that comes with being the GM. During his press conference the day after the Cousins’ trade, he stated he “had a better offer two days ago.” Later that day, he explained that agents had interfered and the offer was taken off the table, but he needs to do a better job explaining that initially, because now there are a ton of reports stating that Vlade purposefully took a lesser deal. I understand Vlade struggles with speaking english at times in a clear manner, and that’s fine, but if he’s going to address the media, he needs to be more detailed and explain his reasoning better.

Overall, despite the circus, I believe the move in itself to remove Cousins was the right choice. It’s unfortunate the story broke during the All Star game, but the media is relentless and has no care for the feelings or interest of a player or organization. The trade didn’t have much in return, but the Kings can finally start from scratch. With Cousins on the team, the organization had an elite player in the NBA who was in his prime and felt pressure to win right now and take advantage of his prime. However, winning to make the playoffs as an 8th seed with a losing record isn’t how strong teams are built. Eliminating Cousins allows the team to start to build through the draft and develop young talent without having the pressure to win right away. Barring more trades before the deadline, the Kings will likely recover more draft picks and eliminated expiring contracts. After this season is over, the Kings will likely have their own top 10 pick, the Pelican’s first round pick, Hield (this year’s 6th round pick) and Bogdan Bogdanovic who is a 24 year old small forward European player with a lot of promise. Add that to the development of Willie Cauley-Stein, Malachi Richardson, Georgio Papagiannis, and Skal Labissiere and you’re team has a lot of young promise and could turn into something special if coached and developed correctly. It will be interesting to see how the future drafts are approached considering recent and epic failures in the front office, however this current front office has yet to officially fail at drafting players so there appears to be hope. The key is to hold a united front with the coaching staff, front office and ownership and maybe for once the Sacramento Kings will be stable. They’ve eliminated the most controversial player from their dumpster fire organization which may allow for improvement.

The move for the Pelicans to go after Cousins speaks to their dedication to Anthony Davis. The Pelicans front office has been dying to find someone to pair with their super star player and they finally have it. The combination of Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, and Cousins will be an interesting experiment. Both Davis and Cousins are ball-dominant players and both are used to being the face of their respective teams. It is shown through social media that these players have developed a friendship over their alma mater, Kentucky, but there is no doubt that this team will take time to develop chemistry. Alvin Gentry will have a lot to deal with when it comes to managing these two bigs (especially Cousins), but he must be happy to be put into the situation. It is clear that the Pelicans are gunning for that 8th seed in the Western Conference and possibly more. The best part, the Pelicans feel they didn’t give up much. In fact, if the Pelicans fail to reach the playoffs and happen to win the lottery by having a top 3 pick, they’ll get to keep that pick and draft a player is this very deep draft; a draft seen by many as the deepest in a decade. However, the likelihood of them being playoff bound has increased, because in this age of guard play, who on earth is going to be able to stop the play of BOTH Anthony Davis and Cousins? If they do make the 8th seed, I am having a hard time coming up with a way the Warriors could stop the dynamic tandem. Cousins, with an elite player on his side, will absolutely destroy teams more so than he ever has in his career. It would appear that this trade was very beneficial to Cousins.

This may be the trade Cousins has needed in order to improve his career. Cousins has been a loyal player to the team that drafted him (Sacramento), but his loyalty to a dysfunctional team has finally run it’s course. If he wasn’t going to move himself, it’s good the Kings did, because now he’ll be able to leave all of the troubles behind him and move on. With the new CBA ruling, Cousins could have had a 5-year extension for $218 million which would have made him the highest paid player in NBA history; a price the Kings were very hesitant about. With this trade, Cousins was screwed financially. That’s a hard thing to say because I have a hard time feeling bad for someone who will probably make $30 million a year instead of around $40 million a year. Either way it’s a lot of money, but with the trade, Cousins leaves a lot of headaches behind. It’s also important to note that Cousins was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama which is roughly 2 hours away. In fact, he mentioned in a press conference that he loves New Orleans and has been there a lot when he was a kid. Boogie could finally be home.

The Kings and Cousins had a complicated relationship, but despite the bumps and bruises, Cousins stayed loyal to the team that drafted him. In this day of NBA basketball it’s hard to come across players who show such loyalty despite their organization showing no promise. However, this trade was important for both parties. Cousins needed to be forced to leave, otherwise his legacy would have been tarnished and the Kings needed to get rid of Cousins otherwise they would have been in a continual black hole of signing below overage free agents and drafting 10th every year receiving minimal talent. The outcomes weren’t anywhere near what anyone expected from a Cousins’ trade and I was in absolute shock to see what the Kings were able to get, however this organization is banking on the future and development. For Cousins, he may finally get the taste of winning in his mouth and the sky’s the limit wherever he ends up.

Written by AthletiQA Contributor, Ryan Goff

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