Cousins, who was playing the Sacramento Kings at the beginning of the 2016-17 season, was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline that season. He ended up teaming up with Anthony Davis in New Orleans.
Demarcus Cousins talks about Russ tryna get him to OKC at the 2017 All-Star game and being shocked he was traded from Sacramento
“We getting ready for the all-star game and my locker is next to Russ, Russ said aye bro my GM wants to know would you be interested in OKC, they… pic.twitter.com/rn8f31Poz4
— 🕸️ (@TheWestbrookEra) February 8, 2024
“We getting ready for the All-Star Game, and Russ is next to me,” Cousins said. “My locker’s next to Russ. Russ kind of whispered over like, ‘Hey bro.’ This is before the game. He like, ‘Hey bro, my GM wants to know would you be interested in OKC? They tryna make something shake right now.’”
Cousins shared that he said no to Westbrook because he was expecting to sign a deal with the Kings.
“I’m like, ‘Russ, I’m good bro,’” Cousins said he told Westbrook at the time. “‘Imma get my bread.’”
Cousins then found out after the All-Star Game that he had been traded to New Orleans.
The 2016-17 season was Oklahoma City’s first after the departure of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors in free agency the previous offseason. Clearly, the Thunder were looking to get Westbrook some more help that season.
Westbrook ended up going on to win the league MVP in the 2016-17 season, averaging a triple-double during the campaign. He led the Thunder to the playoffs, but the team didn’t make a deep run – partially due to the lack of star power around Westbrook on the roster.
It’s interesting to hear Cousins’ side of things, as he clearly wasn’t looking to leave the Kings prior to finding out that he was dealt.
Injuries ended up derailing Cousins’ career, as he ruptured his Achilles during the 2017-18 season before returning to play with Golden State in the 2018-19 campaign.
Then, Cousins missed the entire 2019-20 season due to a torn ACL. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins was one of the best big men prior to suffering the two injuries.
Cousins, a two-time All-NBA selection, last played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets in the 2021-22 season.
Oklahoma City fans can only wonder what could have been had Westbrook and the Thunder been able to lure Cousins to OKC instead of him being traded to New Orleans.