Vlade Divac defended the Kings' trade of DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, saying that he decided to trade his star forward this weekend despite having a better offer last week.
Cousins and Omar Cassipi were traded on Sunday night in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two draft picks. During his press conference on Monday, Divac claimed he had a better offer for Cousins two days before the trade.
Divac went to New Orleans for All–Star Weekend with the understanding that Cousins would be traded, he said. He didn't give any details on the supposedly–better offer the Kings received.
Earlier, in a statement, Divac defended the trade, citing "culture and character matters" and saying the deal allowed the Kings to acquire depth.
“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization,” Divac said in a release. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in the decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”
Earlier in the month, Divac said that Cousins was not going to be traded and “we hope he's here for a long time.” Divac and Cousins also met to assure him that there would be no trade.
Cousins has one year remaining on his current contract and can become a free agent in the summer of 2018. New Orleans is optimistic in their chances of signing him to an extension.
Cousins is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds on the season.
The NBA trade deadline is on Thursday.