Sam Hinkie and the Sixers are the big winners in the DeMarcus Cousins trade
The "Trust the Process" crowd just got another reason to love Sam Hinkie.
In a blockbuster deal that materialized after last night's NBA All-Star Game, the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, where he will pair up with Anthony Davis.
According to reports of the trade, the Pelicans agreed to send Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and their 2017 first- and second-round picks to Sacramento for Cousins and Omri Casspi.
>> All the 76ers' potential draft picks in the next few years and what trades got them
This means that the Sixers and general manager Bryan Colangelo have lost out on another potential trade partner for center Jahlil Okafor, the odd man out in a logjam of centers that includes Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Pelicans were very close on a deal for Okafor 10 days ago, offering a similar package to the Sixers that didn't include Hield.
So why are Sixers fans celebrating the deal?
Thanks to a 2015 trade by then-general manager Sam Hinkie that sent the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic to the Kings, the Sixers received Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, and Jason Thompson, acquired a future first-round pick, and earned the right to swap first-round picks with the Kings in both 2016 and 2017.
The Sixers didn't swap picks in 2016, and the pick swap looked to lose some value this season on the back of a recent win streak by the Kings. But without Cousins, Sacramento is likely to lose steam over the remaining 25 games, increasing the chances of the Sixers ending up with a top-3 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
It also means there is little to no incentive for the Sixers to keep Embiid or Ben Simmons sidelined if they are healthy.
The larger prize is the Kings' unprotected first-round pick, which the Sixers will own in 2019 thanks to a complicated deal between Sacramento and the Chicago Bulls. With the Kings looking to embark on a lengthy rebuilding process behind a shaky front office, that first-round pick appears to have gained much more value for the Sixers.