Ex-Cats

‘Time for a change,’ Divac says of trading Cousins to Pelicans

Staff and Wire Reports

Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Memphis.
Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Memphis. AP

The New Orleans Pelicans’ trade for DeMarcus Cousins was approved by the NBA on Monday afternoon.

The Sacramento Kings dealt one of the most talented — yet temperamental — big men in the game along with Omri Casspi to New Orleans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization,” Kings GM Vlade Divac said. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

Divac said the franchise required a change despite being only 1 1/2 games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“I really love DeMarcus,” Divac told the Associated Press. “I think he’s a great kid. It just wasn’t a fit right now with what we’re trying to do. … I hope this will have a positive effect on his career.”

Divac said the team didn’t wait until the Thursday’s trade deadline because “most likely we would get less, because I had a better deal two days ago,” but that went away. “This was the best time and the best offer we could get.”

The deal to pair Cousins with Davis sends a message that the Pelicans are more concerned with making a 25-game push for the playoffs this spring then where they'll be drafting next offseason.

Pelicans GM Dell Demps previous’ attempts to provide Davis a requisite supporting cast has been under increasing scrutiny as losses have mounted — New Orleans is 23-34, 2 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the West. When the deal was made official Monday, Demps thanked Pelicans owner Tom Benson and top executives Mickey Loomis and Dennis Lauscha for their “continued support and providing the resources for us to be successful.”

“This is an exciting time for Pelicans fans as we continue our quest for long-term success,” Demps said.

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