San Antonio Spurs News

What Does the DeMarcus Cousins Trade Mean for the Spurs?

Apr 24, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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Immediately following his All-Star MVP performance, Anthony Davis learned that DeMarcus Cousins will be joining him in New Orleans. What does this trade mean for the San Antonio Spurs?

The NBA world was turned upside down last night when news broke that the Sacramento Kings were parting ways with DeMarcus Cousins. In return, the Pelicans would send Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, and 2017 first round pick (top-3 protected) and a 2017 second round pick.

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Yes, you read that right.

The Kings traded arguably the best big man in basketball for bench players and draft picks. It’s rumored that the Kings weren’t willing to pay Cousins after the 2017-2018 season, so trading him was the best option. However, most would believe that the Kings could have gotten more of a return for a player of Cousins’ caliber.

While the Kings have officially hit the “tank” button, the Pelicans made a serious push for the NBA Playoffs.

Anthony Davis and Cousins have yet to play together. Although both players played in Kentucky under coach John Calipari, Cousins played in 2010, while Davis played in 2011.

3 players are averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game this season:

Russell WestbrookAnthony DavisDeMarcus Cousins

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 20, 2017

Essentially, seven teams in the Western Conference have a playoff spot, barring a massive meltdown. The seventh seed Oklahoma City Thunder are 32-25. The eighth seed at the moment is the Denver Nuggets, who are 25-31, 6.5 games back of the seventh seed.

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Given the way Russell Westbrook is playing this season, you can pretty much lock up the seventh seed in the West, which is where the Spurs come in.

The Spurs are currently 43-13, the second seed in the West. Since the seventh seed is likely locked up, a first round matchup with the Pelicans is near-impossible. However, the Pelicans are just 2.5 games back of the eighth seed, which would set up a matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

For the Spurs, this is fantastic news.

Instead of having a cake-walk first-round matchup, the Warriors will have their hands full versus Cousins and Davis. It’s unclear how that tandem will work, but on paper, stopping both of those guys in a half-court offense sounds impossible.

So, while it’s unlikely they will beat the Warriors in the first round, it will definitely require the full energy and attention of the Warriors, especially on the defensive end.

If this move happened back in the 1990’s, the Pelicans would be in serious contention for a championship. However, in the modern-era of basketball predicated on floor space and three-point shooting, it’s hard to predict how these two big-men will play together.

Outside of the Spurs who play LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol together, there aren’t many other teams who play two 7’0″ footers in the paint.

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The Spurs and the Pelicans have played three games this season. The Spurs won the first two matchups at home, and lost the most recent matchup in New Orleans. The final matchup will happen on Friday, March 3rd down in New Orleans.

Who would have thought that Spurs fans, and fans of every team, would look forward to a game against the Pelicans? Thanks to the Kings front-office, that is now a reality.

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