NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Pelicans trade for DeMarcus Cousins is risky.
He's only under contract for one more year; his agent has even said he won't resign with any team that he's traded too. Plus, along with his unquestioned talent, comes his reputation as being a malcontent.
Those are all concerning.
But with every risk comes a reward. And, oh my, the reward could be so great for the Pelicans.
First and foremost, Cousins is an All-Star, one of the best in the league, in the prime of his career. Elite players don't grow on trees and NBA teams need multiple of them to have success. That makes two on the Pelicans roster and gives Anthony Davis the much-needed help in the frontcourt.
Second, the final 25 games of the Pelicans' season just got a lot more interesting. What would have been a lethargic, slow drag to the finish line is now an upbeat, optimistic chase to the playoffs. They instantly became the favorite to land that eighth seed.
Simply put, the franchise has life again.
In the best case scenario the chemistry develops quick, and they're able to give Golden State all they can handle in the first round of the postseason. That can spark momentum heading into the offseason, which could make signing Jrue Holiday easier. A big three of Davis, Holiday and Cousins could entice Boogie to sign a long term contract with the club.
That could completely change the landscape of professional basketball in Louisiana. The Pelicans could go from an irrelevant, fledgling franchise to an up-and-comer with a talented, young nucleus.
On the flipside, if it doesn't work out, what did the Pelicans really give up? Tyreke Evans was gone after this season. Langston Galloway is a backup. Buddy Hield may someday be a solid NBA starter or even an All-Star, but that day is not today. If the Pelicans make the playoffs, the first round becomes a mid-round pick. There are exceptions but generally mid -first rounders don't grow to be stars. Of course, the Pelicans could miss the playoffs which would make the first rounder a lottery pick. But with it being top-three protected, the Pelicans would keep the pick should they get really lucky with the ping pong balls.
Essentially it boils down to the proven commodity of Cousins for the potential of Hield.
Sure that's a risk. But for the Pelicans, it's a risk they absolutely had to take.