The New Orleans Pelicans wrap up their three game western road trip in Sacramento this Thursday night in yet another must win scenario against a team they crushed behind Demarcus Cousins just last March. But they do so against a very different looking Kings team.
The Kings used three first round selections to bring in rookie of the year candidate De’Aaron Fox , Justin Jackson, and the still recovering Harry Giles (whom fans can expect to see in February). They used the sum of their salary cap space assembling tutors for the young players in George Hill to Fox, Vince Carter to Jackson, and Zach Randolph to Skal Labissiere.
While most Pelicans players may simply be looking to head back to New Orleans and prepare for Saturday’s date with LeBron James, there is one Pelican who will be experiencing so much more.
Demarcus Cousins spent the first six and a half years of his professional life in the Golden 1 Center (and before that the Sleep Train Arena). In a recent interview with Marc Spears of ESPN, Cousins discussed his opportunity to leave the Kings, and why choosing loyalty over opportunity became his biggest regret.
“My biggest regret is… why didn’t I leave when I had the chance?
I had the chance, but I fought it. When George Karl came. I wanted to give it a chance. My representatives told me ‘you shouldn’t stay.’ Being… I guess you could say ‘stubborn,’ and ‘loyal,’ I wanted to make things work.”
…. At the end of the day, it’s a business. I kind of blame myself for even putting myself at that point. You knew coming in this was a business. How are you gonna be loyal to someone that ain’t loyal to any player that’s ever played this game? I was a fool.”
How the Kings faithful will respond to their complex former hero is anyone’s guess, but we can be sure the Kings players won’t care. They need to focus on winning after suffering losses to the Rockets, Nuggets and Suns. The Western Conference is no place to fall behind as the Pelicans will happily confess having lost three of their last four including Tuesday night’s contest to the Portland Trailblazers.
So as these teams square off, we bring on managing editor to ESPN True Hoop Network’s Cowbell Kingdom, Leo Beas, to discuss the Sacramento Kings and get a glimpse of what to expect this Thursday night.
The Kings are 29th in pace, should we expect a slug fest? Just how good is De’Aaron Fox? Is Skal ready to take Randolph’s minutes? How much do Carter and Randolph have left? And has Willie Cauley-Stein finally become the DeAndre Jordan impersonator we all thought he would become in Kentucky?
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