The Celtics could have easily trumped the Cousins-to-Pelicans deal; so why didn't they?

If you fell asleep watching that snooze of an All-Star game last night and just woke up, you'd be just finding out that DeMarcus Cousins was traded late last night to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and the Peli's 1st and 2nd round picks in 2017 with Omri Casspi heading to Louisiana along with Cousins. The news that Sacramento was entertaining offers for Cousins, a complete about face from their public and private stance earlier this week, started to trickle out in the form of a Woj Bomb around the start of the game last night:

The Pelicans came out as one potential trade partner with heavy interest, but we went the rest of the night without really any hard info on any of the other teams involved. I assumed the Orlando Magic might be a suitor, as they've shown interest in Cousins earlier this season, and just before the deal went down it was reported that the Lakers were involved but not willing to include Brandon Ingram. One would have to think the Boston Celtics, with all of their assets and thirst to add a superstar to the roster would be in the middle of the Cousins sweepstakes, right?


Danny Ainge easily could have trumped that offer for Cousins with his plethora of picks and young players - clearly those are what the Kings were looking for since they traded for Hield and a 2017 1st. Unless Vlade Divac and Co are completely enthralled with Buddy, and I'm not exactly sure why they would be, you'd have to imagine a package revolving around Jaylen Brown (drafted ahead of Heild last year) and one of the Celtics Brooklyn picks (either one will be much higher than the Pelicans pick this year) would have blown away that deal.

So what gives?

Personally I thought DeMarcus would have been a terrific fit with this Celtics team as it's currently constructed. Our biggest hole is an inside rebounding presence on both ends of the floor and DMC fills that and some. He mans the Center position allowing Al Horford to play his preferred 4-spot, although that means very little to me I guess it's a plus. Cousins' ability to stretch the floor at the 5 drags would-be rim-protectors away from the basket and allows Isaiah Thomas plenty of room to get in the paint. Those three guys, mixed with whatever combination of Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart is a pretty imposing lineup if you ask me - one I think that would instantly become a true title contender.

But as good a player as Cousins is he comes with some baggage. By all accounts he's a great guy off the court, but on it he's a walking technical foul - he's already racked up 16 this year, he was suspended for the Kings' last matchup with the Celtics, and he'll serve a suspension for every 2 he gets between now and the end of the season. We'll set the over/under at 4.5 games suspended for the season with one already under his belt. It's not hard to imagine that in the coming days we'll probably see a Red Sox-esque smear job coming out of Sacramento as they're currently coming under fire for the lackluster return they received for Boogie:

The Kings were set to offer Cousins a 5-year $209 extension this summer, the richest in NBA history, under the new CBA's Designated Player Exception (DPE). This was designed to allow teams to offer significantly more to players who have been franchise players for them for a number of years. Had the Celtics made a deal for Boogie they would have had a significantly lower price to pay of $180, which is also nothing to sneeze at. Ainge has spoken at length about it being important to maintain flexibility with all the options they have at their disposal and signing a guy for that kind of money is pretty much the opposite of that. I have no doubt that Ainge would have hitched his wagon to a star he was 100% in on but the question marks surrounding Cousins were clearly enough to keep the Celtics away. So if you're pissed that the Celtics didn't get involved here you're really mad that they clearly had no interest in Cousins whatsoever.

It was interesting to me how quickly this whole situation transpired last night, as once the word that the Kings were looking to move Cousins was leaked it was a mere few hours before a deal was in place. Almost as if they didn't want to have to face him after the trade rumors leaked and they had already promised him and his agent he wasn't on the block:

Would it have really killed them to use the next four days to find a better deal? Kings gonna Kings. I'm also not willing to rule out that Vlade was in New Orleans and went on a bender on Bourbon St last night. He might actually think he traded for Anthony Davis:

So whaddya think, missed opportunnity or dodged a bullet? I think for that price this deal was a no-brainer and we would have been contending for a title as soon as this year. If we got to keep one of our Brooklyn picks AND keep our core intact I would have pulled the trigger in a second.

Photo Credit - USA Today

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