Nike’s World Basketball Festival has inspired some rather bodacious promo art, as various players from the participating teams — Yi Jianlian, Anderson Varejao, all Nike-signed players, of course — are displayed in tremendously stylish manner. Though Kevin Durant has been Team USA’s primary subject for most of the posters and billboards advertising the event, today it’s Rondo that graces
A driving force behind the Kings trading DeMarcus Cousins: Sacramento keeps its first-round pick in the loaded 2017 draft only if it lands in the top 10 (though the 76ers hold swap rights). Otherwise, the Kings’ pick conveys to the Bulls.
Sacramento, only a half game better than the NBA’s 10th-worst team, figures to drop into the keep-pick zone without Cousins, the team’s best player.
The Kings excised Cousins, and there are strong indications they are not done dealing, either. Sacramento is determined to restock the franchise with assets, and will be targeting rookie-deal players and draft picks in the coming days, sources told The Vertical. Free agents-to-be Ben McLemore and Darren Collison are available, sources said, as is Arron Afflalo, a solid bench scorer with a manageable contract.
Collison is the Kings’ starting point guard, and he’d be solid for a team seeking a rental. He’s making $5,229,454 in the final year of his contract. Trading a starter would certainly help Sacramento keep its pick in the top 10.
Afflalo ($1.5 million of $12.5 million guaranteed next year) and McLemore (who can be made a restricted free agent next summer) are producing far less. It’s less likely other teams covet them. At least keeping these two guards probably won’t lift the Kings too high in the standings.
Paul Pierce — NBA veteran and emoji enthusiast — used not one but two smartphones to record the action during Saturday night’s underwhelming dunk contest. Why was Pierce doing this? Perhaps he wanted to have an extra copy of it because he doesn’t trust “the cloud”. Or maybe he’s doing some work as a social media manager on the sly. You know, getting a jump on that retirement thing.
Or maybe this is just something that Pierce really likes to do:
Whatever he’s doing, I’m not sure if he looks like a boss or like a goober doing it. I feel this accurately sums up Paul Pierce’s aesthetic.
Pierce may have a point. Jeremy Evans dunking over a painting of himself in 2013 immediately felt pretty ridiculous. But eliminating props entirely? I’m not so sure about that. How would they sell Kias then?
But once he examines the deal closer, he might not like every aspect.
Cousins stands to miss out on a lot of money — about $30 million or more — due to this trade.
Because he made All-NBA teams the last two seasons, he was eligible to sign a designated-veteran-player contract extension this summer. As a matter of fact, he reportedly planned to do just that with Sacramento reportedly planning to offer it. That extension projected to be worth $209,090,000 over five years ($41,818,000 annually).
But, once officially dealt, Cousins will no longer be eligible for that super-max extension. It’s reserved for players still with their original team or who changed teams only via trade during their first four years.
This is Cousins’ seventh season, dropping his max starting salary in 2018 from 35% of the salary cap as a designated veteran player to 30%. That projects to be $179,220,000 over five years ($35,844,000 annually) if he re-signs.
It’d be even less if he leaves New Orleans, a projected $132,870,000 over four years ($33,217,500 annually).
Notice how small that difference is now between his incumbent team and other suitors. By rule, the Pelicans won’t hold nearly the same advantage in keeping him as the Kings would have. In other words, New Orleans faces greater risk of Cousins walking.
And there’s no guarantee Cousins gets the max. You saw how little the Pelicans traded for him. That speaks to his value around the league.
Just over a month ago, Cousins appeared content to take $209 million or so and stay in Sacramento. Now, his financial future is far more uncertain. But this much we know: His max possible salary on his next contract just got lowered.
NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins was set to answer questions after the All-Star game, when a Kings public-relations official said, “All-Star questions first, please. All-Star-game questions.”
“What other questions we got?” Cousins asked, seemingly unaware of his trade to the Pelicans.
The PR person whispered in Cousins’ ear.
“Oh, really?” Cousins asked.
“It’s whatever,” Cousins said.
Then, asked about his All-Star experience, Cousins smiled big and said, “It was amazing, man. I enjoyed the city of New Orleans. I love it here in New Orleans.”