Big O Tires

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.

Who will get first tech in NBA All-Star Game history: Draymond or DeMarcus?

Who will get first tech in NBA All-Star Game history: Draymond or DeMarcus?

The NBA All-Star break will last seemingly forever, but we have two great opportunities between now and next Thursday (no games until Thursday? What fresh hell is this?) to treat the audience to something new and enjoyable before James Dolan decides to start banning Willis Reed from Madison Square Garden.
 
In other words, cue Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins. This is right up their individual wheelhouses.

Simply, we want to see which of them wants to become the first player in All-Star Game history to get a technical foul. 
 
That’s right, no player has ever been T’d up in an All-Star Game, which is amazing since Rick Barry got called for 30 personal fouls in his All-Star career and fouled out twice, and agreed with every call? That’s demonstrably implausible on its face.
 
You may be less surprised by this fact because the All-Star Game has become a game played for laughs and layups. Nobody gets fouled, nobody gets mad, nobody has a tantrum – it’s all snicks, giggles and no-host drinking from start to finish.
 
But there is an opportunity for either high drama or low comedy this weekend in New Orleans that could energize an otherwise mega-meh event. And frankly, Boogie and Dray are our best bets.
 
Yes, we are ignoring the idea of a Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook drawdown, mostly because while it is clear the two gentlemen are going to let their snit fester awhile, it is equally evident that neither would ruin the weekend for their fellow players by being caught giving the media hellhounds what they crave – a series of easy stories that make the event less relentlessly tedious.

And we all know how little they want to serve any media-based agendas.
 
We also won’t get a lot of drama from Charles Oakley or Li’l Jimmy, because everyone agrees that Dolan is a raging jackwagon, and you can’t have drama without people on both sides of an argument.
 
No, this looks like a job for Boogie and Day Day.
 
Cousins and Green have as part of their reputations a penchant for disputatious behavior that catches the eye and ear of your average official. Cousins leads the 
league in technical fouls with 17, and Green, though less consistent, picked up two Wednesday night from Ronnie Garretson and now sits just off the pace in fifth place with 10.
 
Westbrook would have 13 if not for two that were rescinded by the league’s hall monitor division, DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers has 12 and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan has 11, but Cousins and Green are the two guys you think of first when it comes to back-sass. They are what the nation demands here.

Thus, one of them could decide, just on the basis of entertainment value and Twitter trendage, to get into the grills of one of Sunday’s officials (Ed Malloy, Ken Mauer and Tom Washington, in case you had a bet on it). I mean, there’s history to be made here, and surely one of them could hustle up a sponsor to get paid for the T. Say, the American Civil Liberties Union.
 
But there is another avenue for Green, and that is in the celebrity game he is helping to coach. Yes, someone had to draw the shortest straw of the weekend, and sitting through the Kevin Hart Cares Way Too Much Memorial Game is Green's.

Though there has never been a technical foul rained upon a player (hell, there hasn’t been a player foul out since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987), there is one coach to get one – the redoubtable Red Auerbach, who got thrown out of the 1967 game in the Cow Palace by Willie Smith and Earl Strom, with the kicker being that he had retired from active coaching the year before, and might have been playing it for laughs himself. After all, he coached an old-timers game, the ’84 game and got tossed from that one as well, the cranky little elf.
  
Here lies another opportunity for Green to win some eyeballs with the simple act of snapping over some bogus foul call against Candace Parker or Baron Davis, or even better, getting into a shouting match on the bench with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is playing on Green's team.
 
I mean, under what other circumstances would you watch this sneakered B-list-and-below tire fire? Draymond Green doesn’t owe us a snap, but the game could use one, and he is better qualified than anyone – except, now that we think of it, Cuban.
 
Green and Cousins should then double down on Sunday and double-team Malloy (he’s the official who looks like a coat rack on wheels), or Mauer (he’s the official who looks like he had his hair styled at a Lego factory) to get one each, maybe at the same moment, even if it’s just for comedy value.
 
I mean, the T’s wouldn’t count against their regular season totals, people would laugh, highlight clips would be enhanced, and Adam Silver could come from the stands and fine them each a quintazillion units of money from a country that no longer exists. It’s a cavalcade of cheap laughs in a game that had 369 points a year ago and can use all the useful comedy it can get. 
 
And on the rule of thumb that if you’re gonna go, go big, the weekend is in the hands of DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green. Let your inner complaints department run free, gentlemen. It’s good for the game. Trust us.

Warriors slap themselves awake before sleep time at All-Star break

Warriors slap themselves awake before sleep time at All-Star break

The Golden State Warriors had a hard time getting involved with the task at hand Wednesday night – namely, packing for the weekend.
 
Their basketball work, on the other hand – well, they came as close as a team can come to doing it in their sleep. And if there is a lesson in that, it can be found upside the Sacramento Kings’ collecting skulls. 
 
In boxing the Kings, 106-83, almost entirely on the strength of an overwhelming third quarter, the Warriors eased into the All-Star break four games clear of the San Antonio Spurs and playing largely against their own standard until the playoffs begin a million years from now.
 
Wednesday’s odd twist, which didn’t really move the needle all that much, was that Draymond Green got hurled into the ether in the final minute of the first half for two staccato waves of disgust and a pungent and disputatious colloquialism at official Ron Garretson. The technical fouls are his ninth and 10th of the season, closing the gap between him and league leader DeMarcus Cousins to seven, and that of suspension by the NBA’s Bureau Of Politeness to six.
 
But in his absence, the Warriors put up their 16th 40-point quarter of the season, blitzing the Kings, 42-15, largely behind Klay Thompson’s shooting (17 points on five-of-six) and Patrick McCaw’s ridiculous defensive work (he was plus-28 in 10 minutes).
 
And it wasn’t so much that they were beating the Kings as a show of solidarity for their wronged colleague (Green was called for a wonky foul but earned the two technicals) but as a realization that they were going to have to work much harder and more efficiently to slap themselves from their first-half torpor.
 
And slap they did, as they usually do. Thompson was the obvious catalyst, McCaw the omnipresent annoyance, and Kevin Durant (21/7/7) was properly Durant-y, but they also excised DeMarcus Cousins (a paltry 13/4/6 in 22 minutes) from the Kings’ game, in all putting down a 28-2 run in less than seven minutes to more than negate the fact that the Kings were three points better in the other 41.
 
But that’s Golden State in a pretty mahiogany box. The Warriors do that a lot, which is why they have won 34 of its 47 victories by double digits, and 17 by 20 or more. They have elevated the bar of stimulus for their home crowds to the point where they sounded almost Staples Center-disinterested through the first half. It took a Thompson 3 and then a Curry 3 a minute later to get them involved at all, but as the Kings kept going down the floor to achieve nothing over 16 possessions, the crowd got their time-released jollies and went home satisfied if not tingly. 
 
The game spoke very little new of the Warriors, but it showed the Kings what the reward for finishing eighth will be. True, the Kings will take anything given that they have missed the playoffs with a stirring consistency this past decade, and since the Warriors are almost certainly going to win the conference and Oklahoma City is almost certainly uncatchable, the Warriors would be their only fate.
 
And it would be a fate that would probably look a lot more like Wednesday’s than the Kings’ overtime win two Saturdays ago. Such is the gulf between the two, Draymond Green or no Draymond Green.
 
Not that that’s news or anything, but it’s all there is before this eight-day break. The Kings are in a death-war with Denver and Dallas and Portland and New Orleans and Minnesota, and the Warriors . . . are just the Warriors. Even if, as they were Wednesday night, just the Warriors for 12 minutes.