The trade deadline has come and went. With the constant buzzing of general managers, coaches, players, analysts and sports writers on the who, what, why, and where of the league it can be quite difficult to separate the rumors that offer some real insight and the ones that are, well, just rumors. That being said, every once in a while a trade comes around that is not completely inflated and over covered by media, but is none the less massively impacting on the status of the league. One such trade occurred this past Sunday, and boy was it a huge one.
DeMarcus Cousins is a New Orleans Pelican, and I would hazard to guess not many people outside of the Kings and Pelicans front offices saw it coming. That goes for DeMarcus himself, as you can see in this interview when he is sitting down to talk about the All-Star game and is informed by his agent. For Cousins it seems emotions are quite mixed (though that may not be surprising coming from a famously emotional player) as he is sad to leave Sacramento but holds a positive outlook on what the future may hold for him in New Orleans.
Fans of the Pelicans should be ecstatic, and any one that isn’t a Kings fan should at least be intrigued, because the possibilities of having DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis playing side by side on the same floor are staggering. We are talking arguably the two best big men in the modern NBA throwing each other lobs and setting each other screens. At the very least it will produce some great highlight plays, and if the best case scenario unfolds and they mesh together well we could be seeing New Orleans escaping the mire of mediocrity they have been stuck in for so long. With the right amount of luck they could push forward from their current 11th place in the western conference and make it in the playoffs as an 8th seed to challenge the Warriors. You could also argue the very fact that Davis and Cousin’s style of play are too similar and may lead to too much ball stopping and clashes of ego. It all remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure; the second half of the season just got a whole lot more intriguing.
For those interested, below is the entire press conference after DeMarcus was traded, featuring Boogie himself, his fellow traded King Omri Casspi, the New Orleans GM Dell Demps and New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry:
As most people who follow basketball well know, Kevin Durant left his long time team the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason, seeking a better opportunity to win a championship. And boy did he get one, bringing his once in a generation scoring talent, MVP, freak athlete portfolio onto a Golden State squad that already broke the regular season record for wins the year before. But many have speculated it was also because he wanted to play for a team where the other stars where more willing passers (so not Westbrook). But as LeBron’s experience should show you, fans of a franchise don’t care about your reasons. Not only do they not care about your reasons, they don’t even care about all the success and good time you brought to them. They just care that you left. And as the video above will show you (taken from Chris Smoove’s YouTube channel, be sure and subscribe), the return home was none to pleasant for Durant.
But in basketball, what it comes down to is winning. The Warriors won the matchup last night, 130-114, and Durant scored 34 points, and all the booing and clever signs in the world won’t change that. Durant made comments after the game on how he “expected worse”; his mom on the other hand had a choice word or two to say about the OKC fan’s treatment of Durant. It should be noted that Durant was a wonderful philanthropist during his time in Oklahoma, donating a million dollars to tornado relief funds, building basketball courts for children, and even going himself to sites affected by storms and cleaning and rebuilding along with the rest of the relief effort. He was a true citizen and this shouldn’t’ be overlooked. That being said, nobody who has watched similar scenarios in the past can say they were surprised by this outcome. Tempers will cool over time, and that is about all Durant can hope for. Something tells me come June when he is competing in a NBA finals for the first time since the Thunders 4-1 shellacking by the Heat in 2012, he will not be thinking about a February game where fans held up “cupcake” signs.
Charles Barkley in his current role as a TV analyst
There was some serious drama in the world of the NBA this week. So much so that most of the news on the NBA had more to do with the verbal spat between LeBron and Barkley then anything actually related to the game of basketball. For those that don’t know, Barkley has had a history of criticizing James. Now, all this criticisms have been basketball related, if not sometimes bordering on the hypocritical (talking smack about LeBron changing teams and talent searching when he did the exact same thing). But whatever it was about what he said this time around, it seemed to strike a serious nerve for LeBron. For the entire comment made by LBJ, you can click here, but the general gist was as follows; James feels his legacy speaks for itself when compared to Chuck’s, and does not appreciate him calling him “whiney” in the least.
I’m unsure of whose side to be on in this argument. On one hand, Chuck was doing his job and commenting on a basketball player, but on the other, he has a history of taking the same outdated issue with James, questioning his competitiveness and his resolve. It would get on anybody’s nerves, but to deal with these kinds of comments from people basically from the time you were 15 years old and up would take the resolve out of anyone. So for now I stand by LeBron (and not just because it was supremely entertaining to read his roasting of Barkley.) When it comes to legacy’s, Chuck does not come even close, and once more, questioning LeBron’s competitiveness is just plain dumb. If he was not supremely competitive, he wouldn’t be pushing for a new point guard in the first place. We are talking about a man who single handedly pushed a crazy good Warriors team to six games in the 2015 finals. Alas, whomever’s side you land on, I think one thing can be universally recognized; this back and forth between LeBron and Barkley has been fun to watch.