DeMarcus Cousins’ Tuesday marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in the former University of Kentucky star’s NBA career.
Cousins, whose trade from the Kings to the Pelicans became official Monday afternoon, made his goodbyes in Sacramento early in the day Tuesday, and flew to New Orleans to join his new team afterward.
His official introduction to New Orleans’ media and fans will come at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.
What follows is a recap of the day for Cousins:
The farewell begins
In a video posted early Tuesday (Eastern time), a clearly emotional Cousins talked about leaving Sacramento.
“My love for the city has never changed,” he said. “Even though I’m gone it’ll still be the same. You know, I’m still looking out for these kids. Every family in the city matters to me. Every soul in this city matters to me. Everything’s the same, I’m just not in a Kings uniform anymore. Which is OK because the love is still here.”
Final thoughts before leaving Sacramento
Cousins talked to the Sacramento media before boarding the New Orleans Pelicans owner’s private plane.
“It’s been emotional the past two days. It’s been hard to kind of gather myself because everything’s happened so fast,” he said. “But I’m excited. It’s not easy dealing with change. I’m going to deal with it in stride … just move forward, stay positive. Go in with an open mindset … help this team try to make this playoffs.”
On whether he feels he has unfinished business in Sacramento:
“It does. I may not have impacted in wins and losses the way I wanted to but I did in a lot of other ways. I can kind of leave satisfied with that. Just because I leave it doesn’t mean anything changes. I still got love for the city. I still got love for the fans. That’ll never change. I still consider this place a home. Only thing that changes is the name on the front of the jersey.”
Does Cousins wonder if there is anything he could have changed to help the Kings?
“Everybody does that throughout life, but at the same time I don’t regret anything. Everything I’ve been through has helped me grow as a person, so I’m in a good place. I learn from my mistakes.”
Has he taken the trade and how it went down personally?
“I’m OK with it,” he said. “I kind of expected it. I’ve seen it before. I’m moving on.”
Headed to New Orleans
While Cousins and fellow new Pelican Omri Casspi were en route to New Orleans, the Pelicans released the following statement from owner Tom Benson:
“I could not be more excited to add DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans. I know that everyone is thrilled with the anticipation of DeMarcus and Anthony (Davis) and Jrue (Holiday) and the rest of our team hitting the floor tomorrow night against the Houston Rockets.
“We are only a few games behind in the playoff hunt and I want to bring an NBA championship to this city. I think this trade puts us in a position where we are now more improved and can make a run.
“The NBA All-Star weekend was a great weekend for New Orleans and Anthony was a worthy MVP, and then we topped it off with a trade for one of the best players in the NBA.
“I was appreciative of Mickey (Loomis) for keeping me updated daily during the trade talks and I was 110% behind the decision. I hope all of our fans welcome DeMarcus and Omri with open arms to our great city.”
Boogie posts statement on Instagram
“Words can’t even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It’s hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don’t just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren’t going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento.”
Cousins’ first interview in New Orleans
Cousins and Casspi spoke with Joel Meyers, the Pelicans’ play-by-play announcer, soon after arriving in New Orleans.
He asked Cousins about being close to his hometown of Mobile, Ala.:
“I’m close to family. It’s a quick drive, so I’m excited for the whole experience,” Cousins said. “This is basically home for me. A lot of family will be here. You might be a little overwhelmed.”
On playing with fellow former Wildcat Anthony Davis:
“He is (like a little brother). We didn’t get a chance to play together at UK, but we still formed a bond throughout these years. I think this is a special thing we’re forming right now. I’m excited about the opportunity. The good thing about me and A.D. is outside of basketball we have a great relationship. I think that will follow over onto the court and we can make some things happen.”