The New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings made a trade Sunday sending All-Star Center DeMarcus Cousins and Omar Casspi to New Orleans while Sacramento received Rookie Buddy Hield, former Rookie of the year Tyreke Evans and Future pick featuring a first rounder.
The move gives New Orleans two All-Star front court starters, but does it make New Orleans better? I ask members of the Franchise Thunder insider syndicate.
Sam Mayes, MMM Ranch:
Of course it does. You think Vic is on Boogie’s level? Or Steven Adams?
With the right coaching and a group of individuals in that lockerroom that are committed to each other and the process, New Orleans could be the team in the playoffs that causes the most buzz.
Are they Golden State? No. Are they Cleveland? Not yet. But I don’t think being Cleveland is outta of reach for them. It is for the Thunder.
Andrew Gilman, Franchise Morning Show:
At this point, we don’t really know. Potentially, yes. New Orleans have arguably one of the best front courts in the league, at least for the rest of this season, but if Cousins doesn’t re-sign, then New Orleans hasn’t done anything to better itself, except for renting a player for 25 or so games.
Adam Francisco, Writer, Inside Thunder :
I think this trade pushes New Orleans passed OKC on paper. They have the most lethal frontcourt in basketball now and other than Russell Westbrook, our backcourt isn’t leaps and bounds better than theirs. This is an appealing matchup in my opinion and will make for an entertaining game, but pending good chemistry, the acquisition of Cousins makes the Pelicans that much better than the Thunder, even with Enes Kanter in the lineup.
Matt Ravis, Producer’s Show host, FranchiseOK writer:
Usually, trading for a superstar means gutting the core of your team. We’ve seen it works out horribly before, like when the Knicks mortgaged the farm to add Carmelo Anthony to Amar’e Stoudemire. Unlike New York, though, the Pelicans managed to add another superstar for a bag of chips, a bottle cap, and Buddy Hield.
I do worry about this team gelling in the short run — AD and Boogie are similar players offensively who demand the ball in the same spots — but, short of a locker room explosion (and that scenario is always in play with DMC), the Pelicans are a foreseeable top four seed in the West. Davis and Cousins should figure out a way to make it work. And if not? Boogie was just a rental, and the Pels can ship him off before the trade deadline next season, likely for more than what they gave up.
As constructed, they’re better than the Thunder, and, with some maneuvering (like getting rid of Omer Asik’s awful contract), could have the flexibility to add a few key pieces in free agency.
Jon Hamm: Bleacher Report, Co-Host Franchise Thunder Insiders Show
The Pelicans managed to add a second star to its roster, though the mercurial Cousins brings a lot more questions than answers. Still, if Cousins’ new surroundings agree with him, he and Davis could form the most dominating duo east of Oakland.
However, the rest of the Pelicans roster is a mess. Point guard Jrue Holiday has battled injuries ever since his lone All-Star nomination in 2013. He will be a free agent at season’s end and New Orleans will have no choice but to pay whatever it takes to retain him. Meanwhile, Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca will be paid over $15 million per season to not play. Last season’s key free agent signing, Solomon Hill, has been an expensive dud. The rest of the rotation is made up of journeymen like E’Twaun Moore, Dante Cunningham, and Tim Frazier.
Adding to the team will be a struggle this summer as well. The Pelicans will have a couple of salary cap exceptions to use, but general manager Dell Demps’ free agency track record is poor. How he adds complimentary pieces will go a long way toward determining New Orleans’ success.