The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for a first-round pick, a second-round pick, Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway — shockingly little return for Sacramento’s franchise player.
“I had a better deal two days ago,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said.
Divac made Sacramento look foolish with that quote, but according to a league source, the problem was more poor communication with the media — something Divac is no stranger to — than terrible trading.
According to the source, the potential trade partner made an offer only to pull it once Cousins’ camp threatened the star center wouldn’t re-sign in 2018. Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, publicly said before the New Orleans deal was consummated that it was “highly unlikely” Cousins would re-sign with any team that trades for him.
The trade made Cousins ineligible to become a designated veteran player, costing him at least a projected $29.87 million on his next deal. So, Cousins had clear incentive to stay in Sacramento.
Another source involved in Cousins trade discussions confirmed Cousins’ camp attempted to dissuade teams from trading for him, though that source did not confirm a pulled offer.
It’s unclear whether the Kings could have completed the “better” offer before the other team pulled out. The offer was presented as available to Sacramento for a day or two, according to the first source, though the other team could have always backed away at any point as it received more information.
This situation isn’t unfamiliar to anyone who follows college recruiting, where there are differences between offers, Offers and committable offers and everyone has their own definitions of each term.
Divac has struggled as Sacramento’s general manager, and his track record opens him to the type of mocking he received in the wake of his “better offer” remarks. But, though there’s still some mystery in the Kings’ trade process, attacking Divac based solely on this comment is probably piling on too far.
There are already enough reason to believe Sacramento erred on this deal.