Cousins 'shocked' by trade as he gets warm welcome in New Orleans

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DeMarcus Cousins touched down in New Orleans on Tuesday for the first time as a member of the Pelicans.

For the first time since Sunday's blockbuster trade ended Cousins' tumultuous run with the Sacramento Kings, the All-Star center took time to reflect on the whirlwind weekend to reporters.

"It's been hard," he told Sacramento's ABC 10 before boarding his flight. 

"For it to just happen overnight, and then to just come home [from the All-Star Game] -- I've got to rush to get things done. My mindset was I was coming home to relax for a couple days. It's been a hectic two days, but that's the nature of the beast."

The trade, made official Monday, first broke at the conclusion of the All-Star Game, in which Cousins played only two minutes, 27 seconds. He and forward Omri Casspi would be staying in New Orleans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway and a pair of 2017 draft picks.

When first told of the deal, Cousins admitted he was "shocked".

"It seemed like I was gonna wake up from a dream," he said. "It just didn't seem real. It was shocking, but I've had time to kind of think about it a little bit. I still don't think it's really hit me yet."

Since being drafted fifth overall in 2011, Cousins' time in Sacramento always seemed tenuous, especially in the last three seasons marred by near-constant trade rumours and controversy with coaches and front-office personnel.

In a statement announcing the trade, Kings general manager Vlade Divac said: "Winning begins with culture and character matters", a perceived parting shot at Cousins.

On Tuesday, Cousins said he had not spoken with Divac or Kings owner Vivek Ranadive in the aftermath of the trade and did not intend to. He thanked Kings fans for "dealing with the knucklehead for six-plus years".

"It's been an emotional last few days. It's been kind of hard to gather myself because everything's happened so fast, but I'm excited," he said. "I might not have impacted in wins and losses the way I wanted to, but I did in a lot of other ways. I can kind of leave satisfied with that.

"I don't regret anything," Cousins added. "Everything I've been through has helped me grow as a person. I'm in a good place. I learn from my mistakes."

The Pelicans sent coach Alvin Gentry and general manager Dell Demps to retrieve Cousins and Casspi from Sacramento. 

A massive billboard on the Smoothie King Center awaited their arrival in New Orleans.