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DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans is the new big NBA trade rumor

UPDATE: The trade is happening. DeMarcus Cousins is reportedly heading to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and multiple draft picks.
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The Sacramento Kings have discussed trading center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicansaccording to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, in a deal that would pair one All-Star big man with another. In exchange, the Kings would receive rookie shooter Buddy Hield and multiple first-round draft picks, according to Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto.
A deal does not appear to be close yet, and the Kings denied Cousins is being traded, though they conceded teams are reaching out about his availability.
The report follows the Kings’ front office vow not to trade their most talented offensive player ahead of the Feb. 23 NBA trade deadline. Sacramento management met with Cousins’ representatives in early February, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, and insisted the front office had not made their big man available on the trade market.
"We're not trading DeMarcus (Cousins)," Vlade Divac told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein in early February. "We hope he's here for a long time."
Cousins’ agent told The Vertical "nothing has changed" since meeting with Kings management.
The report also comes soon after Boogie’s public wish to sign a contract extension with the Kings. Cousins can sign a five-year deal worth $219 million when free agency strikes July 1 to remain in Sacramento. The 26-year-old center said he wants his "jersey to be in the rafters in Sacramento," according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.
"I'm very happy," he said. "It's where I want to be."

Why this trade makes sense

The Kings have internally flip-flopped on whether the future of the franchise includes their temperamental, talented center.
A three-time All-Star, Cousins is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game and has expanded his range beyond the arc, where he shoots the three ball at a career-best 35.6 percent clip.
But his on-court theatrics, which include a league-leading 19 technical fouls, have worn down the organization over the years. Cousins has just one more season remaining on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018.
Sacramento could move him to avoid losing an All-Star talent for nothing.

Why this trade doesn’t make sense

The return for Cousins here just isn’t very high.
Sacramento would receive Jodie Meeks Buddy Hield, the Pelicans’ 2017 first-round pick, and an additional first-round pick. In his rookie season, Hield is averaging 8.6 points per game on 36.4 percent shooting from downtown and has shown flashes of potentially becoming a dynamic perimeter scorer as his career progresses.
But Cousins is an all-world offensive talent whose mere presence impacts the game on multiple fronts. The Pelicans (23-34) sit 11th in the Western Conference and are just 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets.
Adding Cousins would likely give New Orleans the talent needed to make a playoff push in the second half of the season. In that case, it would also slice the value of its 2017 first-rounder in half.

Probability a deal gets done

A scenario where the Kings don’t receive heaven on earth in exchange for Cousins is not feasible. Hield, at best, is a streak shooter with the potential to develop into a dynamic, two-way player. This trade is far from it, so there’s about a 20 percent chance this deal gets completed as currently constructed.
Two first-round picks lose value when the Pelicans string together more wins, and while a frontcourt featuring both Cousins and Anthony Davis sounds incredible, it’s not a scenario that makes much sense for Sacramento.

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