SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Kings agreed to trade star center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans late last night for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and New Orleans’ 1st and 2nd Round picks in the 2017 draft. Omri Casspi will also go to the Pelicans in the deal.
But hours after the swap was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, it was voided by the NBA under a provision that both general managers involved in a trade must pass a mental health evaluation. The provision was introduced by commissioner Adam Silver at the start of this season to address the growing concern for mental health in America — and also to prevent wildly lopsided trades such as the Cousins deal from going through.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of viewing mental health with the same importance as physical health,” Silver said, introducing the initiative back in July. “Going forward, all league general managers and personnel executives will be evaluated before the draft each year and after they complete a trade.”
Kings vice president of basketball Vlade Divac becomes the first front office exec flagged by the new rule. After the trade was announced, Divac was evaluated by league mental health officials and did not meet the minimum standards required.
“He was fine in most every area but the trade itself,” said an NBA source. “He tried to justify the package they got in return for Cousins and that was obviously disqualifying. Only a mad man, and we don’t use that phrase a lot in the mental health field, would be excited about getting Buddy Hield.”
Cousins will now be returned to the Kings and Divac will not be allowed to make any other deals for 30 days, scuttling his reported plans to sign Jimmer Fredette back from China on a max deal.