Tag: All-Star Game

Fallout from DeMarcus Cousins All-Star night trade

By: Bill Tewes

All-Star night was primarily dominated by the likes of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Isaiah Thomas. What no one expected, was to learn of a trade between the Sacramento Kings and the host town’s New Orleans Pelicans, which had the Kings send superstar center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for rookie guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and a 2017 1st and 2nd, the deal first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

This monster blockbuster deal sent ripples throughout the NBA. Many think of this trade as highway robbery, with the Kings being heavily taken advantage of. Some see this as a good move for Sacramento, as they can now freely enter a true rebuild without the distraction that Cousins has brought to the team. What are the implications of this trade for both teams?

Cousins and his Designated Player Max Deal

The Sacramento Kings would have had to commit to a designated player max deal of $209 million over five years. It would be a massive risk that both sides seemingly were interested in, even though Cousins has clashed with the organization since he was drafted 5th overall in 2010. According to ESPN senior writer Brian Windhorst, the Kings had this option via the new CBA agreement, because the dedicated player max is designed so that teams can sign the players they drafted and also so that the player has an extreme incentive to stay with that team.

The Kings are now free of a player who matured into a dominant big, but one who also failed to mature in other aspects of the game. Cousins leads the league in technical fouls with 19. Sacramento is now able to completely tank out this season and build around players such as Hield, Rudy Gay and their slew of young centers.

Pelicans and the scariest front court in all of the NBA

One would be hard pressed to find a front-court that is even remotely close to as good as what now exists in New Orleans. The Pelicans made a huge splash, as they simply could not compete with Golden State by having Anthony Davis surrounded by average guards, or ones that need to mature like rookie Buddy Hield. Cousins and Davis are 4th and 5th respectively in the league in points per game with essentially 28 per game.

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New Orleans will be not be forced to pay the Dedicated Player Max contract that Sacramento would have had to pay Cousins in order to keep him. If they had to, Cousins would become the highest paid player on the Pelicans roster by about $16 million per year over Davis, who already makes $17 million per year. This signing will cost $30 million, according to a report by CBS Sports. Cousins can now only sign for five years $180 million, which still makes him the highest paid player on the Pelicans.

New Orleans has no guarantee that Cousins will even stay with them, as he can hit the open market and become the highest paid player in the NBA after the 2018 season. It would be a massive blow for New Orleans to only get a season and a half rental out of Cousins if he indeed decides to test free agency and walk away from New Orleans, considering the assets they gave up in order to get Cousins.

The final verdict

Rumors have swirled for quite some time regarding a Cousins trade with multiple teams. Phoenix was rumored to be involved as well as in state rival Los Angeles. No one knows for sure how substantial these trade talks were and on the surface it looks as if Sacramento gave up Cousins for an oft-injured Tyreke Evans, an unknown in Buddy Hield and a 1st round pick that will be coming from a playoff team. The truth of the matter is that Sacramento just could not see the long term benefit of committing to Cousins, who has been with them for six seasons and the Kings have yet to make the playoffs. While definitely not on Cousins, the Kings have a lot of work to do before they can become a real contender and an organic rebuild is what they truly need.

For the Pelicans, they create a ridiculous mismatch that teams will have a terrible time defending. Can they put sub par players around Davis and Cousins and hope that these two superstars cover for the rest of the team? Will Cousins stay and form a dynamic duo with Davis that will haunt the Western Conference for years to come? The risk is certainly high, but may prove to be worth it for New Orleans in the long run.
Winner: New Orleans 

Patience: How to Approach the Milwaukee Bucks

By: Jim Boyce

Last night the Bucks dropped a completely uninspiring game on the road in Orlando to extend their losing streak to four. Afterwards they held a team meeting, which is not really news any fan enjoys hearing about. The Bucks are now 20-22 and in the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. For fans of the team, myself included, watching the Bucks this season has been both exhilarating and frustrating and often within the course of the same week. How do you beat the Spurs on the road without Giannis then drop a home game to Philadelphia six days later? The answer is likely pretty simple, youth.

Here’s a bold prediction for you, the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the East. Well that was not all that bold after all, but it offers some perspective to viewing the Bucks. While there is no doubt playoff experience would help the Bucks, one has to understand that the results of this season are fairly inconsequential. While it may feel like the Bucks have been “owning the future” forever, the fact is this team has not arrived yet by a long shot. For the rebuilding clubs in the NBA like the Bucks, Sixers, and Timberwolves, the only thing that really matters is your young core. The rest of the guys that fill out the roster can be replaced and likely will be by the time the team is truly a contender.

The Bucks have a bona fide super star in Giannis Antetokounmpo. An All-Star starter at age 22, he is putting up insane numbers and has the Bucks playing much better than I figured they would back when Khris Middleton went down with injury. For as good as he is now imagine what he may be at age 25, 26 etc. Every championship team needs an MVP candidate and the Bucks can check that off their list.

Jabari Parker has played his way to fringe All-Star status this season and has definitely made the leap as a scorer from last season. The hope is that he still is improving and can provide a one-two punch with Giannis that will be the envy of the NBA once the Warriors and Cavs dominant runs begin to fade. Other players I would include as young building blocks for this team are Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker. While these guys are fun to watch right now, the focus should be on what they are in a few seasons.

Obviously every contending team needs a solid bench, and that is something the Bucks will need to be smart with when they add pieces around the core. Right now the Bucks have 42 million dollars invested in the Center position and not enough minutes to get them all into the game, these kinds of things will need to be rectified going forward. The Bucks also will not be able to afford bad contracts on non-essential players. Paying someone like Miles Plumlee 13 million could be killer when it comes time to pay a guy like Brogdon.

So do not lose hope when the Bucks drop a game they have no business losing. While we all want to see the Bucks make some noise in the playoffs right now, keeping and growing the young core of players is all that really matters. Eventually these guys will reach their primes and the Bucks will not be so up and down throughout the course of the regular season. The rebuild may feel like it is taking forever, but I am more than willing to wait it out with the hope of championship level basketball in Milwaukee once again.