Almost immediately after the All-Star game ended last night, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of a blockbuster trade. The Sacramento Kings gave up superstar DeMarcus Cousins and potentially Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans. In return for the ill tempered three time all star, the Kings received rookie Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, a top three protected first round pick this year and a 2017 second round pick (that was originally Philadelphia’s). With such a huge trade, there are always ripples felt across the league. The Sixers were one of the teams most effected by this trade.
What happens to Jahlil Okafor?
The most obvious aspect of how this trade impacts the Sixers is focused on their center Jahlil Okafor. The Pelicans have been the team most linked to the former Duke big man. But now that they traded for Boogie Cousins, Okafor is no longer a target for them to try and acquire. The four teams rumored to have inquired about Okafor were the Pelicans, Blazers, Nuggets and Bulls. The Blazers and Nuggets agreed to a trade swapping big men and draft picks.
Therefore, with the Sixers taking their time to pull the trigger, it eliminated multiple potential trade partners. Chicago is the only team who has supposedly inquired about Okafor who hasn’t already acquired a big man. That means Philadelphia might have to settle for even less than they planned.
The other major implication the Boogie trade has on Philadelphia is through the draft. Within Nik Stauskas/Carl Landry etc. trade, the Sixers also received the rights to swap first round picks this season, and the Kings first round pick next year.
The pick swap would obviously only be used if Sacramento’s pick ends up higher than the Sixers’. The Sixers (21-35) currently have the fifth worst record in NBA. Sacramento (24-33) has the eleventh worst record. If the draft order were to be determined strictly on record, the Kings would not keep their first round pick this season because they owe Chicago their first round pick should it fall outside of the top ten. While it may seem like a stretch considering there are six teams between Philadelphia and Sacramento, they are only separated by 2.5 games.
Even with Sacramento’s additions of Hield, Galloway and Evans, the loss of Cousins will lower this team’s play. Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game and he leads the team in all of these categories. In comparison, taking Rudy Gay out of the conversation because he ruptured his Achilles and is out for the rest of the season, the team’s second leading scorer averages 13.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 0.6 blocks per game. All three players that the Kings received are currently averaging less ten points a games.
Sacramento is on pace to win thirty-five games this season but that probably won’t happen. Of their remaining twenty-five games, fourteen of them are at home. Again, fourteen of the team’s remaining games, fourteen of them are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. This team will struggle to score. Cousins accounted for so much of the team’s offense, players will need to step up to fill the void but that probably won’t happen.
The Pelicans-Kings trade changed the landscape of the NBA and the waves were felt by Philadelphia harder than most teams that weren’t directly involved. Only time will tell just how much this will help or hurt Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports