CLEVELAND- There is a lot of speculation that DeMarcus Cousins will be traded from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Cavaliers are constantly linked to the 6-11, 270 pound center/forward that averaged 27 points per game last season. The Pelicans took a great risk trading for Cousins because he test free agency at the end of the year.
New Orleans needs to make a decision to either extend Cousins contract now or trade him to avoid being one of the teams that has little shot of making the playoffs consistently. Perhaps the Pelicans can wait it out to give Cousins and Anthony Davis time to build chemistry. This requires New Orleans to be patient and let the two stars build rapport which could take the first two months of the season.
Cousins did not have a full season in New Orleans which must be taken into account. New Orleans may want to hold off on trade discussions if there is chance Cousins would extend his contract and bring the Pelicans a step closer to being a threat to the New Orleans would risk losing it’s competitive edge in the Western Conference. The reputation that the West is superior to the Eastern Conference must be taken into account by the front office.
If a trade is imminent, the Pelicans must receive a fair deal in return. This could mean a package of the 2018 First round pick (acquired in Thomas trade), Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert. another possibility that is less likely is trading Tristan Thompson. The Cavs also have their original first round pick which could be used in a deal.
Why would the Cavaliers take the same risk as New Orleans? Why give up one or two players and a draft pick? The top priority for the Cavs front office is building a team that will take the Golden state Warriors down. That sounds like a fantasy or delusion. Golden State can easily win three or four consecutive NBA championships.
The Cavs acquired Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose this off-season. Dwayne Wade is expected to sign with Cleveland today for the veteran league minimum of $2.3 million for one year, once he officially clears waivers. Wade’s signing could be seen as the Cavs firing the proverbial warning shot at the Warriors. LeBron James would have more incentive to stay in Cleveland.
Cousins would possibly seek a contract extension to contend for championships and be part of a team that he wants to be on.