The frequency of big-name player movement throughout the NBA has never been higher. This summer alone, we saw the likes of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Paul Millsap, and Dwight Howard change teams, and we’re only scratching the surface with that list. Last year, All-NBA level players like Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins found new homes. Nobody is safe these days.
Player movement like this inevitably creates emotional homecomings for those stars that spent a long portion of their career in one spot or even for those that had their best years in a brief time. Among those returns we’ve seen for the first time already this season were DeMarcus Cousins’ return to Sacramento and Kyrie Irving’s return to Cleveland. The NBA has built their nationally televised schedule around these moments, and it’s a smart business decision that also highlights how each team and player handles said homecoming.
DeMarcus Cousins made his highly-anticipated return to Sacramento on Thursday night, landing a prime national TV spot on TNT. This is the only way you’re getting the Pelicans vs. the Kings on national TV, and for good reason. Everyone wanted to see how, or if, the Kings would honor Cousins. Everyone wanted to see how, or if, Cousins would destroy the Kings. Cousins got his video tribute and dropped 40+ points on his old team in a win for New Orleans. It was a great night of NBA basketball.