Nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. After digging deep into negotiations with DeMarcus Cousins on a new five-year, $219 million contract extension, a source has confirmed to CSN California that Sacramento has had discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans on a possible trade for the All-Star big man.
No deal is imminent, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, talks between the Kings and the Pelicans took place over the weekend and there is a 50/50 chance that something will materialize before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to ensure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.
Sacramento's GM Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”
Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.
The Pelicans are a strange trade partner. Anthony Davis is the only blue chip player on the roster, but there is no way New Orleans is giving up their superstar in a deal. There are other assets that Sacramento might be interested in.
According to sources, the Kings attempted to move up in the 2016 NBA Draft to select shooting guard Buddy Hield, and point guard Jrue Holiday has admirers in the organization. The Pelicans also own all of their first-round draft picks moving forward.
Any team trading for Cousins would likely want assurances from the center/forward that he intends to sign an extension during the summer. But they would be limited to a four-year deal, not the “designated player” five-year extension Cousins has been looking to sign in Sacramento.
Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first to report the potential deal.