Have you ever poured your faith into someone with a questionable reputation, blindly hoped against hope, and despite all the support given, things failed to work out?
That, in a nutshell, appropriately describes New Orleans relationship with DeMarcus Cousins.
While the world was shocked to learn the Sacramento Kings had decided to trade away their superstar to the Pelicans, the Crescent City was already in the midst of celebrating. Mardi Gras was well under way and the breaking news about the birth of #DoItBig made the on-going festivities all the sweeter. Did you happen to notice a week after the big announcement that Boogie was acclimating to New Orleans like peas and carrots?
We all knew of Cousins’ baggage upon arrival, but the warnings out of Sacramento were largely ignored. Our city was desperate to see the Pelicans start winning games, and New Orleans has by nature a weakness for gargantuan personalities — no way was this going to end poorly. The Boogie and The Brow combination was going to work because the #DoItBig identity was as unique as the culture found within the city limits and, more importantly, seemed a plausible answer to the small-ball craze. Finally, a threat to the vaunted build of the Golden State Warriors!
Yet just when we were on the precipice of realizing our dream — man, that was some win against the previously undefeated trio of James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela, tragedy struck and forever changed the course of the Pelicans.
Shit happens, but perhaps it was in New Orleans best interests all along?
The team rebounded nicely after adding Nikola Mirotic and went on to post better stats and many more wins than losses. Had a particular Achilles never burst, the Pelicans might have still found lots of success, but they could have forever plateaued similar to the Memphis Grizzlies because there seemed to exist more fiction than fact. That’s far from a worst case scenario, granted, yet it was too late — we were already mesmerized by a sexy glimpse of the alternative. No one is forgetting that grand sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round anytime soon.
Sorry, but there prevailed no overriding factor for this organization to drop every last dime on a supremely gifted 270 lb athlete but whose injury has habitually destroyed career after career. Also, the results were not loud and clear: it’s hard to overlook that a healthy Cousins appeared in 59 games alongside Anthony Davis over a two-year span but New Orleans compiled a very mediocre 31-28 record.
Oh, he was beloved by countless of fans, despite his faults, and the Boogie-Brow tandem could have eventually worked, but the smart decision was always to avoid putting so many eggs in one fragile basket. Risk management and the NBA salary cap demanded a more sure-fire approach. If the duo was meant to be, Cousins should’ve reacted more amicably to the free agent market’s message, tried to make the best of a situation where no one party deserved blame and come closer to figuring out a solution — if he had any honest desire to stay in New Orleans.
Instead, he outright claimed the Pelicans didn’t make him an offer, and later complained that Dell Demps didn’t want him.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What happened to the meeting with the Pelicans that was scheduled for the near future? What about specific dollar amounts being whispered by people in the know? Local newspaper writers, television reporters and even us bloggers caught wind of New Orleans proposals and desires so why blatantly deny they existed in the first place? Unfortunately, a lot of well respected people got wrapped up in the nonsensical details and disguised the truth.
I’d never tell a fan they should or should not be disgusted by the Warriors’ deal with Cousins and its implications. But it isn’t as if 29 other teams were knocking on his door.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) July 3, 2018
If you wanted DeMarcus, you probably could’ve had him.
It doesn’t bother me that Cousins left for $5.3 million. Or that he went to the Golden State Warriors. I, too, might have been miffed by an offer that came at an incredibly lower figure than what was I thought I deserved. And yes, I would have balked at going to a destination in a sign-and-trade that wasn’t on my preferred list. But to say there wasn’t any offer(s) ready to be pushed across the table?
Truth & nothing but the truth:— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) July 3, 2018
Pelicans DISCUSSED numbers w/ Boogie & his reps.
Cousins camp didn’t like those numbers.
Both sides agreed, test FA.
Humbling experience for DC.
NOLA pivoted to Randle.
Pelicans wanted sign & trade deal.
Boogie & his camp walked.
Took GSW $5.3 mil pic.twitter.com/impPUpx4gF
Before the season had concluded, no one within the organization dared give Cousins a strong vote of confidence to return because they were fully aware of the difference of opinion that was created on January 26, 2018. Then suddenly between the Blazer and Warrior series, Cousins vanished. Then there was the Instagram debacle where he unfollowed the Pelicans.
Lots and lots of hints, but you claim you were shocked when free agency began and the offers didn’t come pouring in?
Entering the offseason, General Manager Dell Demps remarked it would take a perfect scenario to bring back DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo. Thus, it was always destined to be a bitter negotiation between a player who still viewed himself as a maximum player and an organization that no longer saw a safe investment anywhere close to the proposed price point.
Give the Pelicans their due for understanding this scenario well in advance and thus pouncing on Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle. This new direction may or may not work out, but at least the team has re-armed itself to a degree that offers hope of a playoff berth in successive seasons.
Julius Randle averaged 18.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a starter in 49 games for the Lakers last season. The list of forwards/centers who posted these stats at a minimum in 2017-18?— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) July 2, 2018
As for you, DeMarcus, we seriously wish you all the best in your future endeavors. We pray the Achilles mends to as good as new and hope your best playing days lie ahead. Truly. But please, please, stop throwing New Orleans under the bus. Any maximum deal went out the window as soon as your tendon snapped, and no amount of spitefulness is going to change that fact.