DANNY PICARD: The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans after the All-Star Game. Here’s the deal: Cousins to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick, and a 2017 second-round pick. That is an absolute steal for the New Orleans Pelicans. You look at the trade, and you think, what else could they have got out there, around the NBA. This is an absolute steal for the Pelicans.
SLAINE: Well let’s forget about the Celtics angle for right now. Why — if you’re the Sacramento Kings — do you take a trade on Sunday night, when you still have four days to go until the trade deadline, when you have interest, probably, from the Lakers, the Celtics, Orlando? So as the trade deadline nears, you would assume the offers are going to go up because they are competing offers. Why would they pull up four days shy?
DP: You mention the Celtics. Here’s my theory with the Celtics. I think, and this plays off of a tweet that Ric Bucher sent out, saying the Celtics are too focused on Jimmy Butler. And I think that’s where we stand. That’s where the Celtics stand. They are, right now, focused on a real trade, that they thought was real. I don’t think that this means the Celtics didn’t want Cousins, which is what a lot of people are saying. They’re saying, “Well, it just goes to show you that they didn’t want this kid. They weren’t willing to give up anything for him.” No, I think the Celtics — having already inquired about Cousins several times and getting no deal for him, and hearing all these rumors and nothing going through — I actually think the Celtics didn’t want to waste their time on some stupid trade talk. They want to be serious, and if they’re all-in on one player right now, someone like Jimmy Butler, and there are serious talks, then why would you want to get up and leave that negotiation table to go talk with Sacramento about a trade that you don’t even know if they’re seriously willing to move him? I just don’t think the Celtics wanted to waste their time, if they already have a deal that they’re all-in on. Sure, the Celtics could have given up a lot more than what New Orleans gave up. And to be honest, I’m a big Cousins fan, I would have liked to see that. But, if you are already locked in to a deal that you might be close on, and it’s Jimmy Butler, who’s an All-Star player and an elite scorer from the wing who puts up 25 points a night that I would love to see on this Celtics team, I don’t think you can walk away and risk losing that deal, to try and talk about a trade for a guy that you don’t even know the Kings are going to move. I just don’t know that the Celtics had a clear grasp on the Sacramento situation, to where, the trade deadline is at 3 o’clock on Thursday, and there’s a lot of work to be done. And if they’re already talking to Chicago and working things out there, to me, there’s no need to walk away from that. As good as Cousins is, there’s no need to walk away from that, because I think that if the Celtics add Jimmy Butler, I think they can contend and compete with Cleveland.
SLAINE: You don’t get by Cleveland with Jimmy Butler. The reality is, you have to beat Cleveland and then Golden State. We’re talking about building a championship team here. So if we get Jimmy Butler, we still need a dominant big man.
DP: A dominant big man, or somebody that’s serviceable enough. I know that people say the Celtics need rebounding and they need that shot blocker. I don’t think Al Horford is getting enough credit for the type of shot-blocking ability he has. I know he likes to be on the outside, and I know he likes to shoot, but I just don’t think Horford is getting enough credit for his defense, which I think is better than what people see on a box score. I think that if you get into a seven-game playoff series with Cleveland, with this Celtics team, as currently constituted, and you lose that series, I don’t think we’re going to be talking about rebounding and defense. I think we’re going to be talking about the Celtics didn’t have that other elite scorer. If they played the Cavaliers and lost, I don’t know that the issue would be rebounding or defense. I think the issue would be, you didn’t have that other guy who could keep up with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. You didn’t have that other guy — when Isaiah Thomas gets double-teamed — that can score, that can have a big offensive game.
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