For the past 24 hours, we’ve been trying to parse out exactly how/why the Sacramento Kings ended up trading away franchise superstar DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans and managed to get so little in return. News spread throughout the All-Star Game on Sunday night that the organization had been engaged in trade talks with multiple teams, and when they finally announced that they’d swapped him, essentially for rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and future picks, it left a lot of folks scratching their heads.
On Monday, Kings general manager Vlade Divac actually admitted during a press conference that he had a better deal for Cousins in the works just two days ago. It’s not often that league execs are so willing to broadcast their ineptitude in such spectacular fashion, but now it turns out there might have actually been another underlying motive for the move.
Owner Vivek Ranadive, who’s known for having highly-questionable ideas about the game of basketball (for example, playing 4-on-5, like in hockey), apparently has a rather rosy outlook on Hield’s career prospects.
It wouldn’t be the first time Ranadive wildly overestimated a young player’s potential. Here’s what he had to say about drafting Nik Stauskas a few years ago.
So maybe Divac isn’t totally to blame after all. Maybe he was just following orders. Either way, that’s a lot of pressure for the young rookie to live up to.