DeMarcus Cousins will miss out on close to $30 million due to Kings-Pelicans trade

Freed from the basketball purgatory that is the Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins is joining a dynamic team in the New Orleans Pelicans and could potentially be heading to the playoffs for the first time in his career this season. Yet while Cousins is one of the main winners in the trade that sent him to New Orleans on Sunday, the deal has an adverse affect on his bank account.

Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, Cousins was eligible to sign a designated-veteran-player contract extension with the Kings this summer. This was built into the CBA so teams could offer their star player more of an incentive to re-sign with them. This long-term super max deal is only eligible for players that want to re-sign with the team that drafted them. Players that were traded while on their rookie contract are also eligible for the same deal with the team that acquired them. 

Cousins is a free agent in 2018 but because of this new CBA rule, he would have been able to extend his contract with the Kings by five years this upcoming summer. Sacramento could have given Cousins a supermax long-term deal that would have paid him well over $200 million. Cousins planned on signing that extension this summer, which is a big reason why he repeatedly said he wanted to remain in Sacramento.

But the Kings apparently didn’t want to give Cousins that long of a contract for that much money, so they traded him to New Orleans. And now Cousins is not eligible to sign a designated-veteran-player contract extension with the Pelicans, since they didn’t draft him and he is no longer on his rookie deal. The Pelicans can only offer Cousins a five-year, $180 million deal, which is about $30 million less than what he could have earned from the Kings if Sacramento didn’t trade him.

New Orleans isn’t guaranteed to re-sign Cousins either. Cousins will be a unrestricted free agent in 2018 and could sign wherever he wants to. He will have plenty of suitors too, especially if he continues playing at an All-Star level. 

But the main takeaway in all of this is that while Cousins is likely heading to a better situation with the Pelicans, his forced departure from the Kings has made a significant impact on his career earnings -- something which could add fuel to the fire whenever Cousins plays against the Kings for the rest of his career.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories
    CBS Sports Shop