|The Man, The Monster, The Boogie|
Now, I get why the Kings wanted to deal Boogie; he's a massive pain in the ass, but he's also home-grown, in that they've had *years* to try to figure out how to handle him, and never did. Cousins was likely going to walk after 2018 free agency, so moving him before you get nothing has appeal, and yeah, there's also the real possibility that he's a tragic figure, in that if he's the best player on your team, your best player is a technical foul time bomb, turnover prone, foul prone, and quite possibly mental. He's also sporadic with the defense, and might have the worst body language in the game right now.
Here's the problem with all of that: it describes any number of very good NBA players on very bad teams, because very good NBA players on very bad teams either stop caring (i.e., stop being very good) or go insane. There's nothing that Boogie has done that wasn't right in line with the Charles Barkley career, or the Shawn Kemp career, or the Antoine Walker career, or in a couple of years, the Paul George career. The NBA is a brutally competitive league that does *not* take turns; you have a really good chance of being that stud who never wins a ring here, and that role rankles everyone who ever takes it.
The Pelicans get to pair Boogie with Anthony Davis, coming off an MVP effort in the All-Star Game, because when AD doesn't have to deal with centers, he's even more impossible to handle than before. They still have Jrue Holliday, the best PG in the league that no one ever really thinks much of, because he's an ace on defense and misses too much time to think too highly of. Tim Frazier's a decent enough PG2 now, Quincy Poindexter and Dante Cunningham have uses, and they still have a half dozen bigs they can throw out there after Boogie gets teed up. If someone else throws them a decent 3-and-D wing, they'd be downright dangerous in more than theory.
And what did the Kings get? Buddy Hield, the shooting guard from Oklahoma that has first round bust and bench guy ceiling written all over him. Tyreke Evans, the rich man's Tony Wroten, who wore out his welcome with the Kings after they drafted him, because he's a combo guard ballhog and ball stop who doesn't defend. Langston Galloway, who has carved out a nice little career for himself from the Knicks D-league team a year ago, but FFS, we're talking about a guy who could go play in Europe tomorrow and no one would miss him. And pic ktomfoolery, which only really helps if the Pels tank, which they aren't going to any more.
Hield, Evans and Galloway get to pair up with Rudy Gay, I guess, Willie Cauley-Stein (no hands or offensive moves beyond throwing down lobs), Ben McLemore (defense last shooter), Ty Lawson (ancient smurf point guard, no longer a starter in the league) and a bunch of other guys who are going to be dreaming of a trade before the deadline or in the off-season. Because if this teams wins more than 20% of its games in the rest of the year, someone will need to investigate for game fixing.
There's a simple rule about evaluating who wins a deal; it's the team that gets the best player, because trading that dollar bill for several shiny nickles and quarters rarely works out. To that rule, add this: the team that gets the only good player. However, as lopsided as this deal is, I'm also not certain this really changes NoLa's ceiling (first round loser to Golden State or San Antonio), because there's little chance this pairing is going to fully mesh in 25 games, let alone get out and guard the 3-point line, which is where good teams end you, anyway.
But from a pure fan standpoint? We just made the first round of the Western playoffs *far* more intriguing, if for no other reason that we're giving Cousins, the free agent to be in a national showcase and spotlight, four to seven games to show the world that a Dubs-Cavs rematch isn't ordained by God. (It still is, but illusions are more fun than real life. Kind of like the Davis/Cousins Twin Tower concept.)
At least this deal wasn't made by the Lakers or Celtics, or have some team's ex-Hall of Fame player pull the trigger while the league pretends it was fair for both sides...