"I can't wait. Oh, my God. I can't wait,” Cousins said Wednesday at the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Africa camp. “I'm praying it's the first game. I just got a lot to get off my chest. I can't wait.”
Boogie's got one game circled on his calendar this year. pic.twitter.com/QTZRUuJemz— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 3, 2017
Controversy ensued in February — on the night of the 2017 All-Star Game — after the Kings traded Cousins to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a handful of draft picks. Cousins appeared blindsided, telling The Undefeated, “I haven’t cried in a long time. It just broke me down. It hit me like, ‘This s— is really happening.’ It was something that I never expected to happen.”
The three-time NBA All-Star went on to say team managers told him he would not be traded, rubbing a little salt into his wounds from the break-up.
Cousins is no stranger to the controversy, which most likely played a part in his departure from Sacramento. ESPN recorded 18 technical fouls last season for the big man, a career-high. Through his seven-season professional career, Cousins has logged 101 technical fouls, 49 disqualifications and 11 total ejections. Keep in mind, he has only played in 487 NBA games.
And then there was this...
Source: no one act moved Kings to deal Cousins, but yelling "F*** Golden State" at fans after Feb 5 win over GS was a factor. That, & 17 Ts.— Ric Bucher (@RicBucher) February 21, 2017
Despite past emotional outbursts, Cousins has a chance to avenge the trade and prove his worth with a little help from three former Wildcats this season: Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and familiar face Darius Miller. (Miller was a sophomore when Cousins played his freshman season at Kentucky.) According to NOLA.com, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says Cousins is excited about this year, and he’s even “recruiting free agents” to join the Pelicans. Gentry claims Cousins helped coax Rondo into his recent agreement with New Orleans.
Cousins has never reached the playoffs since being drafted to the Kings. In fact, Sacramento hasn’t reached the postseason in 11 seasons — the second-longest, currently standing playoff drought in the NBA behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (13).
Which brings us to this newly established rivalry. Get excited, Wildcats fans. A Kings-Pelicans match-up is basically the rebirth of a two-platoon scrimmage, full of former Kentucky players. Alongside the Pelicans’ four former Wildcats, the Kings also possess Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and De’Aaron Fox.
Throw in a player seeking revenge, and that’s some entertaining television.
Obviously, “Boogie” has this game already marked on his calendar. Big Blue Nation, do you?