Talent wins in the NBA, so when they have someone with tremendous talent they were willing to put up with a lot more off the court. Think young Charles Barkley, who was a royal pain. Or, there’s a reason that a prolific scorer like Gilbert Arenas could do things like take a dump in a teammates’ shoe or bring guns into the locker room and get another chance, while a borderline guy like Javaris Crittenton does not after those incidents.
Sacramento has been willing to put up with a lot — most recently a suspension for arguing with another coach — because DeMarcus Cousins is undeniably talented.
And according to the Sacramento Bee they are not eager to trade him because of that.
The Kings have been reluctant to deal Cousins. He’s been considered the key to the Kings’ rebuilding project, but on the court he’s regressed this season while the off-the-court issues have accelerated.
Reluctant isn’t no. But they are going to want a lot back for a guy they think could be a franchise anchor type of player. Sam Amick put it this way at USA Today.
The odds of the latest incident inspiring the Kings to trade Cousins are likely slim, as he is considered the centerpiece of their prolonged rebuilding effort. But a person with knowledge of the Kings’ plans said “he’s not untouchable,” in large part because the 8-18 team is struggling so mightily and all options appear to be under consideration.
Some teams would be willing to take a chance on Cousins because of his talent, thinking that a change of scenery and their veterans/structure give him the best chance of maturing into the player everyone thinks he can be. But after witnessing everything this season, teams will not be falling over themselves to make great offers right now, either. The reliable ProBasketballDraft (unrelated with this blog) put it this way:
Other teams polled around the league seem reluctantly willing, at most, to pursue a trade for Cousins with the Kings because of his history.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) December 24, 2012
It’s risk vs. reward. The potential rewards are very high. But teams will want to risk and give up as little as they can in case that reward is never realized.
Cousins is eligible for an extension of his contract after his rookie deal this year (he has this season and next on rookie scale, $3.9 million this year and $4.9 million next year). If an extension deal is not reached he would be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014, with the Kings or whoever trades for him having the right to match any offer.
He’s talented. He’s going to get chances because of it. But teams are wary.