The Sacramento Kings have been heavily criticized for trading DeMarcus Cousins for below market value, but Scot Pollard believes the move could be addition by subtraction.
“I’ve never liked (Cousins) for the Sacramento Kings,” the former NBA player and Kings center said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It’s been seven years. I heard people on some sides saying, ‘The Kings should have been more patient, should have got a better deal.’ And then there’s people on the other side going, ‘He’s not worth it. He’s not making the team any better.’ I tend to lean on that side. I didn’t have any inside knowledge of it leading up to it, but I personally feel like it wasn’t the right fit for DeMarcus. He does do well in the community, but I could see – and I did know – there were definitely problems. You can see that. When coaches keep getting fired, your main player isn’t coachable – or isn’t a guy that’s handling those coaches. So it’s the wrong fit and that’s the bottom line. Players get traded when they’re the wrong fit for what you’re looking for. That’s what happened here.”
Some analysts have said this was more of a divorce than a trade.
“I think that’s pretty accurate,” Pollard said. “On the one hand, you did like the guy (as a) person. He’s great in the community, as I said. But on the other hand, you’re going, ‘Why do you do this stuff on the court? It’s not helping us (with) the technical fouls (and) the suspensions.’ I don’t mean to take a dig at the man, but if I was spending that much money on fines and technicals and suspensions, I would keep my mouth shut and I would just use all that money that I was losing to the league and open up a school – because he could do that – and hire doctors to be educators and do that for my community. That’s what I would do instead of giving the money to the NBA, who donates it to charity anyway. I would do something for my community, do something for the inner-city, do something for people who don’t have a chance at education. That’s what I would do – instead of being able to say, ‘Well, I yelled at that referee good. And now I can’t play tomorrow.’”
Vlade Divac has taken a lot of heat for making the trade – and for admitting that he had a better offer on the table two days prior to pulling the trigger. But Pollard, who played with Divac from 1999-2003, believes Divac can turn the franchise around.
“If anybody (can), it’s Vlade,” Pollard said. “New owners go through growing pains. Vivek (Ranadive) isn’t the first one to come in thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to run this the way I ran my business that made me into a very wealthy man’ – or female, whatever the case is. But it doesn’t work that way. When you’re an expert in creating a dot-com fortune, it doesn’t mean that you’re an expert at making a basketball team good. That’s the problem that some of these guys run into, and Cuban went through some growing pains as well. It took him a few years before the Mavericks were good. The Maloofs kind of struck gold. They took over the team and they had Geoff Petrie, and Geoff Petrie was able to manufacture a roster really quickly that got into the playoffs. That’s lucky. So new owners do that and they make mistakes, and some of them take longer to get it, to figure out, ‘Okay, I can’t run this the way I ran my business. I’ve got to let basketball people do basketball stuff.’ And I think that’s the case in Sacramento.
“I think they have a good relationship,” Pollard continued, “but I do think there are times when Vlade has been asked or told to do things that he wouldn’t normally do, and I think that that is changing. I think that as it moves along and their relationship progresses, I think Vlade (will have) more and more freedom to do what he thinks will make this program better, the Kings, and I think he’s getting to do that. I think he made a tough decision and got a deal that, yeah, a lot of people are scratching their heads.”
The Kings traded Cousins for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two draft picks.
“I don’t like Buddy Hield,” Pollard said. “I didn’t think anybody should have picked him in the draft last year. He’s a great college player. I don’t see how he’s going to be a great NBA player. But the deal’s done, and I think it’s addition by subtraction when you add up all the salaries that they would have had to re-sign DeMarcus to. If he hasn’t done it in seven years, what’s four more going to do at a quarter of a billion dollars?”