The DeMarcus Cousins experiment in New Orleans has been full of excitement but slightly disappointing results. In terms of this season, of course, there are many games to be played and this can wind up being the best move of last season. However, there are definite issues the front office and this is being displayed on the court as well. DeMarcus Cousins is recording MVP-like numbers so far and is well on his way to career-best numbers.
On a more sour note, Cousins is a free agent this offseason and warrants a max contract for the Pelicans. Depending on his happiness with the organization, Cousins might not be a Pelican next season. All fans want to see Anthony Davis and Cousins play in New Orleans for a long time, but as this offseason showed, business comes first. The New Orleans Pelicans should trade DeMarcus Cousins.
The New Orleans Pelicans Should Trade DeMarcus Cousins
An improbable scenario it may be, but there are more than a few teams in need of an All-NBA center. The biggest question is where does he fit in the best? For starters, the Pelicans are a rebuilding team, whether they accept it or not, it’s true. What Davis’ career so far has shown is the Pelicans front office does not know how to build around him. This season is a first true attempt at building a sustainable team. They are finding success but again, Cousins is putting up MVP-like numbers which will likely not last a full season.
If the Pelicans are serious about building a team to support Anthony Davis into a full career with the team, they have a few big options to deal Cousins with.
This is more of a fan-service idea, but the reuniting of University of Kentucky Wildcats John Wall and Cousins would electrify the Washington Wizards. A few scenarios would work logistically here but they would likely all include Marcin Gortat and other assets dealt for Cousins. Gortat can start as a center for the Pelicans with his average minutes per game and has a backup in place in Omer Asik. Gortat won’t be alone obviously as Davis is still there defending the rim and taking up space. This takes away a scoring threat from the Pelicans, which can’t be made up with any remaining Wizards players.
The numbers don’t match up for a Bradley Beal trade, but a few smaller role players might fill out the trade. This can be mitigated by adding a few more assets to even out the contract Beal brings. However fun this trade might be, it’s not as viable as other options would be.
It seems as if any player is talked about with potential trades, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the mix to deal with them. Eric Bledsoe, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and most recently Greg Monroe. Despite the talks, this trade can immediately benefit both teams.
There are again, a few different scenarios to this idea but the basis of the trade is either Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson for Cousins. First, the straight up deals are definitely paired with the Brooklyn Nets 1st round pick acquired from the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas trade. The Pelicans make up for the scoring with Love and obtain a high pick next season. Alternatively, they fill up the frontcourt with Thompson and also obtain that same pick.
On the opposite side, the Cavs would acquire an immense scoring threat and more importantly, another reason for LeBron James to stay in a Cavs jersey. With all the rumors of his departure, there is pressure on new GM Koby Altman to keep the King in Cleveland.
Los Angeles Lakers
In a certain light, this trade makes the most basketball sense. The Los Angeles Lakers are a young and exciting team to watch grow. However, the team is lacking a dominant big man. Brook Lopez has his benefits but he’s not a scoring threat like Cousins. Once again, depending on the front office this trade has a few options. Mainly, the trade has to include Julius Randle and Luol Deng. These two players are on the way out of Los Angeles, whether it be free agency, a buyout, or a trade, it’s happening. The success of Larry Nance Jr. this season has put Randle out of his starting spot and Deng wants out. Throw in a draft pick or another possible asset to round out the return and this trade works on both ends.
The Pelicans are getting a solid veteran at small forward in Deng and a young scoring talent in Randle. On the other side, the Lakers obtain a center who helps this young team develop into contenders in the West. Who wouldn’t want to see Lonzo Ball throwing alley-oops to DeMarcus Cousins?
Sooner Rather Than Later
These opportunities may not be available much longer. With Greg Monroe on the market, some team is going to grab a talented center. The Pelicans may not want to face facts, but their team currently is not sustainable. It might provide successes during the season and can even lead to a berth in the playoffs, but there isn’t any viable chance in a title run.
The NBA is about knowing when to build, to tear down, and to contend. The Pelicans have been building for a long time to little improvement. It may be time to tear down and rebuild.
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