The Sacramento Kings' decision to trade DeMarcus Cousins for nothing but a mid-first-round pick and a decent rookie has been called many things—shortsighted, ill-conceived, embarrassing.
On Friday, the newest member of the New Orleans Pelicans offered his own description: cowardly.
"Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response," Cousins told the Undefeated's Marc J. Spears when asked if he has a desire to talk to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive or general manager Vlade Divac. "For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?"
According to Cousins, a week before the trade went down, Divac visted Cousins' house and assured him he wouldn't be traded.
"The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent [Jarinn Akana]. We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and [he] told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.
"I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand."
Cousins learned of the trade from a PR rep after the All-Star Game. Spears asked the three-time All-Star how the Kings front office should have informed him.
"Like a man," the center replied. "Like a professional. The more those guys talk, the more things come out. It’s just crazy. This ain’t something that happened in a few days. It has been discussed with more than one team. I just don’t understand."
Cousins and fellow forer Kentucky Wildcat big man Anthony Davis contributed monstrous individual performances in their first game as a tandem—combining for 56 points, 23 rebounds, six assists, seven steals, and six blocks—but the Pelicans got destroyed by the Houston Rockets 129-99. They're three games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot, but Cousins knows that success could take time.
"We’ve had one practice and a shootaround," he said. "This isn’t something that is just going to happen overnight. Do we look good on paper? Yes. But being good on paper doesn’t win games."
The big man is under contract for one more season after this one. He told Spears that during that time he'll give the Pelicans every opportunity to keep him long-term, a fact likely aided by New Orleans' proximity to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
"It has been amazing. It has been great. Everybody has been good. I went looking for a condo, so I had to go walking around downtown. The people. It’s crazy. I’m so comfortable here because it’s literally like home, Mobile. I’m used to those kind of people. It’s normal to me. It feels good."