In what came as a shocker at the conclusion of the 66th edition of the NBA All-Star Game, Sacramento Kings’ big man DeMarcus Cousins was sent over to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Included in that deal was rookie guard Buddy Hield along with guards’ Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway. They also received the Pelicans’ 2017 first and second round draft picks in exchange for the versatile big man.
The Pelicans also received forward Omri Casspi.
Although both teams have agreed to the trade, the league must still finalize the deal.
Reports began to surface before tip-off on Sunday night that the Kings’ management had been shopping Cousins around the league.
Minutes after the game the trigger was pulled on the trade between the two organizations.
Hield let loose and had one of the best standout performances over the All-Star Weekend. The 6'4'' Eight Mile Rock native poured in 28 points (11-for-22 shooting) with six rebounds and three assists to help lead the World’s 150-141 win over Team USA, during the Rising Stars game this past Friday.
The former Oklahoma Sooner has averaged 8.6 points per game, while shooting .392 percent from the field. Hield has shot .369 percent from deep all season, with a .879 percentage from the free throw line. He’s pulled down an average of 2.9 rebounds to go with 1.4 assists per game.
Hield joins a Kings’ team that is just a few games out of the play-off race. Sacramento currently sits in ninth place and holds a 24-33 record. They trail the Denver Nuggets, who currently hold the eighth spot with a 25-31 record.
Buddy’s expected to see his first bit of action in a Kings’ uniform, when the Nuggets visit the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento this coming Thursday at 10:30 p.m. eastern time.
The Pelicans trail the Kings in the standings and sit in 11th place in the West with a 23-34 record.
The Kings coveted the former Pelican, during the 2016 NBA Draft. The Kings, who eventually selected Marquese Chriss, had been high on Buddy and hoped to add star guard to their roster.
According to Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway, Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive’s “belief” in Hield’s potential was enough to make the trade.
Buddy’s senior campaign was enough to draw comparisons between he and Golden State Warriors’ sharpshooter Steph Curry. Drawing from that, Conway quoted what a source told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, “Vivek thinks Buddy (Hield) has Steph Curry potential.”
On 50 percent shooting from the field - 25ppg - and .457 percent shooting from deep earned the Bahamian guard numerous collegiate accolades.
Despite a lofty comparison for a young and rising star, Hield has taken his rookie season in stride. Whether Hield returns to form or not has yet to be seen.
But now the Kings can rebuild with the guard they’ve long wanted and Hield can hopefully, grow into his own with consistent and steady usage. One would think that will be the case after he reminded everyone what he’s capable of this past weekend among his rookie peers.
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2017