demarcus cousins

DeMarcus Cousins: “I let my emotions get the best of me”

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DeMarcus Cousins made a mistake, going after a Sacramento Bee columnist in the locker room after a game for something that had been written referencing Cousins’ brother.

It cost Cousins $50,000, and on Tuesday he issued this statement:

“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction, and I look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”

Here are a few thoughts.

• That is not an apology to the veteran Sacramento Bee columnist. I read the column, which referenced Cousins’ brother in the second-to-last paragraph of a long story suggesting Cousins needs to make better decisions. Cousins basically just proved the writer’s point with the outburst.

• Cousins was spot on about the timing and setting being all wrong. There isn’t any media member doing his/her job who hasn’t gotten a call from a team media representative/executive/coach to privately tell you exactly why they thought on a particular story you had your head up your… you get the idea. But these are blunt discussions that happen in private, the situation is treated with mutual respect — and usually there is more when it is over. You hear the other side’s point of view and understand where they are coming from. What Cousins did was try to bully a media member in public to stop criticism. It backfired.

• If you’re an NBA GM — let’s hypothetically say one of a major East Coast media market where the team is in need of one more elite star to be a contender — this incident has to give you pause. Sacramento is a one-paper town (the Bee) where the spotlight isn’t incredibly bright, the media is generally supportive, and where the scrutiny is not as intense. Yet Cousins has still had public issues with the Bee as well as blogs like Sactown Royalty (which is a fantastic read, but why is Cousins reading everything about him?). If he struggles with the criticism in Sacramento, how is he going to handle a bigger media market where there will be guys nightly trying to poke the bear and get a reaction.

• That said, if the Kings did decide to trade him a few teams would step up with significant offers. He’s still a beast on the court, the best traditional center in the game.

• My guess is Cousins stays with the Kings, and I mean long term. They were very likely to keep him all season anyway (the owner wants to keep him, and they are just two games out of the playoffs), then see this summer if he was thinking of leaving via free agency, which would force their hand. Except, now the Kings can go to Cousins this summer and offer him the “designated player” extension of five-years, roughly $210 million. He’s going to look at his options for free agency in 2018, then take the cash and re-sign. And the dysfunctional marriage in Sacramento will continue.

PBT Extra: Three things to watch with Boston in wake of Hayward injury

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Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.

What next for Boston?

In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.

Gordon Hayward addresses Celtics and fans from hospital bed (video)

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Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.

Hayward:

What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.

At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.

And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.

76ers coach Brett Brown: Joel Embiid’s minute restriction could quickly rise

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Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).

But good news could be on the way.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.

Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.

Report: Bucks have offered second-round pick as enticement for Rashad Vaughn trade

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John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.

Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.

It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.

But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.

Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.

This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.