In the aftermath of the NBA’s biggest trade of the year — DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans — many fans think Kings GM Vlade Divac didn’t get enough for Cousins. But waiting much longer Divac could have ended up with nothing for Cousins, so he gambled that the time was now. Divac didn’t just give Cousins away though. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Kings wanted another potentially dominant big man for Cousins — and went first to Philadelphia (who remarkably has an abundance of frontcourt talent) to get Jahlil Okafor. Okafor has been a seemingly diminished part of THE PROCESS in Philadelphia with the return of Joel Embiid.
But Shelburne reveals that deal didn’t go down for one reason — no Buddy Hield.
The Pelicans were very close on a deal for Jahlil Okafor about 10 days ago, offering a similar package except it didn’t include Hield.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 20, 2017
Okafor was the #3 pick in 2015, and still expected to be an All-Star in the future. Hield’s dominance — at 6’4″ — looks less assured from some angles. An elite player who won the Naismith Trophy last year for the Oklahoma Sooners, he was the #6 pick last year. The deal indicates that Sacramento is counting on Hield to become a top ten NBA scorer-type. He’s been averaging 8.6 ppg in just 20 minutes a contest in New Orleans.