A look into comparing the New Orleans Pelicans’ progress after acquiring DeMarcus Cousins to historic blockbuster trades and their season result.
Three straight losses are probably not what the New Orleans Pelicans had hoped for in their first few games into the “Boogie Brow Era.”
There is a lot considering in this massive deal. This deal is where one team moves a quarter of their roster to bring in one big contributor. Both history and general sense agree that chemistry takes time to build. The only problem for the Pelicans is that time isn’t one of their best assets. They are over halfway through this season. However, that does not mean the Pelicans should worry.
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It is important to demonstrate how these trades take time to build chemistry. Fans should understand that three loses is not far from ordinary when it comes to immediate results. Let’s look at some of the major blockbuster trades that occurred at or around the All-Star break in recent years. These trades, much like the Pelicans’ trade, were intended to add that final piece or bring the roster to fruition. That is, in order for that team to compete for a title.
Carmelo Anthony Traded to the Knicks – Feb. 22, 2011
This risky trade by New York moved an insane amount of players. However, the end worked out initially, as the Knicks made the postseason in that campaign.
For this deal to occur, the Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mosgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets. In turn, the Knicks would receive, Chauncy Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman from the Nuggets. Eight players and a draft pick later, the Knicks felt more poised with their new stars.
They had Billups and Melo, and initial star, Amar’e Stoudemire mesh well enough to get in to the postseason. Initially, the Knicks went 3-2 in their first five games (lost their next one to go 3-3, if that makes a Pelicans fans more at ease). However, they initially found their rhythm enough to finish 6th in the East and a birth into the playoffs. There, they would lose the first round to the Boston Celtics.
Pau Gasol Traded to the Lakers – Feb. 1, 2008
This trade was massive for the Lakers. They understood they were just one piece away from becoming a major favorite for the title. The Lakers would trade Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, and their 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks in exchange for Pau Gasol and a 2010 second round pick.
A massive trade for sure and possibly one of the immediate and most successful trades. Pau would go on to shine at the Staples Center. Immediately, the 2007-08 Lakers probably had the most success. They went 4-1 in their first five games and went on to finish 1st in the West. There, they started their grind through the playoffs, but lost in one of the most memorable finals to the Boston Celtics in six games.
Shaquille O’Neal Traded to the Suns – Feb. 7, 2008
This fairly even deal sent Shaquille O’Neal, who recently won a title in Miami, out to the desert to complete Phoenix’s big 3. That included Shaq, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Steve Nash. In order to bring in “The Big Cactus” as they would call him, the Suns would have to send away four-time All-Star Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Heat.
This deal allowed the Suns to become a fierce competitor in the West. They would finish 6th in the West. However, all of the hype would come to an end early, with first round loss to the Spurs. The chemistry bug affected them too, as they went 3-2 in their first five games.
Allen Iverson Traded to the Nuggets – Dec. 19, 2006
Although this trade happened well before the All-Star break, it was still a massive deal. That is especially true for the Nuggets as a franchise. For this deal to occur, the Nuggets would send Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first 2007 first-round picks to the Sixers. Philadelphia would send Iverson and Ivan McFarlin in return.
Immediately, the Nuggets struggled, as they went 2-1 in their first 3 games. However, they then proceeded to lose five straight. With two superstars like Melo and Iverson, it was hard to mesh at first. Even after their struggles, they made the playoffs as a 6th seed in the West. They would go on to lose first round where they lost in the first round the San Antonio Spurs.
Rasheed Wallace Traded to Detroit – Feb. 19, 2004
This mega three-way deal brought Wallace to Detroit, who only had to fork up reserve players and draft picks. They got them to land their final piece to their championship puzzle. This move wound up much like the Lakers deal for Gasol. That similarity being they went 4-1 in their first five games (4-2 in their first 6) to finish as a 3rd seed. They would go on to win the NBA title.
Based on the past, it is pretty obvious that when you bring in a major piece, teams are going to struggle immediately. However, things are looking up in terms of the postseason. All of these mega-blockbusters made the playoffs. And while it is pretty safe to say the Pelicans will be the one seed, that doesn’t mean you should count them completely out after three losses. As stated, earlier chemistry takes time to build. If history does what it can do best by repeating itself, the Pelicans’ will have their playoff wish granted.
For the New Orleans Pelicans, time is indeed running out. But not to the point where they need to start worrying. They are not the 2007-08 Lakers or the 2003-04 Pistons, where they acquired the “final piece to the puzzle.” The Pelicans are still building and need to keep the realistic goal of simply making the playoffs in mind. Once they do that, the pressure will be to clear cap and make room, to bring in those contending guys in the offseason.
As for now, the Pelicans wish they probably had more “cupcake” games in the beginning. That would get them started on the right foot with Boogie, but time is running out for excuses. The Pelicans were able to pick up a much needed win against the Pistons last night.
This team needs to build confidence, so that when they return to the West later this week, they are poised to make a run for that 8th seed. Besides, with the latest reports today of Kevin Durant out until playoffs, it would be fun to see a team, who overcame chemistry, make the 8th seed and go to battle against a team, who will have to readdress chemistry starting Game 1 of the playoffs.