The DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans just gets weirder and weirder.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac said that he had a more appetizing deal on the table for the All-Star center. Why didn’t they take it?
Divac would not say:
Perhaps even more confusing is that Divac said that owner Vivek Ranadive did not have input on the trade process. That seems highly unlikely, given how hands-on Ranadive has been in the past regarding keeping Cousins, killing Cousins trade talks for years.
“[Ranadive] didn’t have any idea,” Divac said of the trade. “I just told him what I was going to do.”
Let’s cut right to the chase here: this makes no sense.
First, because ownership in the NBA always has some kind of contact on trades, if only as a heads up. When it comes to franchise players, I’m hard-pressed to believe Ranadive wasn’t involved.
Meanwhile, what explanation could possibly be given for not pulling the trigger on a deal Divac admits was better than the one he got from New Orleans? There is one possible reason:
Cousins’ agent was very public in saying the star big man would not re-sign with the team that traded for him, some saber-rattling to try and scare teams off because Cousins didn’t want to be traded. Once traded, Cousins was no longer eligible for the Designated Player contract, meaning he would lose out on at least $30 million in his next deal.
Maybe a team pulled back because of that?
If not that, it’s hard to think of why the Kings would have not moved on a better offer.
That’s a lot to unpack.
Then we have to get to the Kings and their press release, which takes an unsubtle potshot at Cousins with regard to his character:
“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.”
Ah, ok. Couple that with Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear going nuclear on Cousins moments after he was traded and you’ve got an extremely confusing, bad looking coming out of Northern California.
The Kings are a mess.