NEW ORLEANS — An otherwise overblown and underwhelming NBA All-Star Game weekend, one that most thought would be defined by the story of Westbrook and KD and the superstar pair that was no more, turned Sunday night into something shocking and much more meaningful: A brand new pairing that could rewrite the balance of power in the NBA.

DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, teammates for the Western Conference team here in New Orleans, better get used to each other. Sunday was just a warm up. Cousins is about to be a Pelican.

That’s according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical who -- in a series of reports that played out in real time as Davis continued to pile up points and Cousins, who played only two minutes, continued to watch -- broke the news that the league’s best two big men are joining forces.

This is shocking.

Cousins, for all the drama and at times dysfunction he brings to the court, is a massively talented star capable of lifting a team from also-ran to contender. In pairing him with Davis, who scored an All-Star Game record 52 points Sunday night, and claimed the All-Star Game MVP, New Orleans becomes legit. 

How legit? Well, at the very least, it recalibrates the top half of the Western Conference. Given the Clippers’ injury issues, and questions about whether Mike D’Antoni’s approach in Houston will translate come the postseason, New Orleans has just vaulted to a spot among one of the top four teams in the West.

At worst.

And for a long, long time.

Davis and Cousins on the same team means the Pelicans now have the two best bigs in the game, ages 23 and 26. It is the best big-man duo since Tim Duncan and David Robinson roamed San Antonio together. What they’re capable of together is limited only by one’s imagination.

The move, of course, is far from risk-free. It can’t be given Boogie’s history. Sacramento is trading such a gifted basketball player out of a market that will never be able to recruit stars to it because ownership and the front office have clearly decided Cousins’ self-imposed landmines weren’t worth the $200 million commitment necessary to keep him. But give New Orleans general manager Dell Demps credit — he’s taking a huge shot, and my bet is it works.

Davis’ talent, and the fresh start for Cousins, should make this team a force. Fresh starts are real. Especially when they come with a chance to play with one of the game’s best and most important rising superstars.

And this is the NBA, where talent is everything, and pairing this kind of talent is the only real path to a championship.

The deal, which reportedly includes New Orleans sending Sacramento a first-round pick as well as Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, means New Orleans has a nucleus of young stars as impressive as anyone’s. Remember, New Orleans hung onto Jrue Holiday. That is no small detail. A merely competent point guard would thrive next to these two bigs, and Holiday is a lot more than competent. He’s a borderline All-Star when he’s right. This is a real trio. 

Asked after the game but before the deal was done, Cousins complained that he couldn’t get through an All-Star Game without such questions. But he didn’t shy away from what it would mean to play with Davis in New Orleans: “If I’m blessed enough have a job here, absolutely. Whatever happens, happens.”

“He’s a great player,” Davis said around the same time. “Dominant in this league. I haven’t heard anything. Management is going to do what they do. But he’s a great player.”

Well, management has done it, and what happened is now official. So consider yourself Blessed, DeMarcus. And take advantage of it.

The trade, on top of overshadowing the All-Star Game, made the long-awaited repairing of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant feel quaint and meaningless. Both players better start paying a little more attention to the Pelicans, and less to the drama between them.

Because with AD and Boogie joining forces, a new power has emerged in the Western Conference. One that might be second only to the Warriors as the NBA team with the brightest future.