DeMarcus Cousins will almost certainly sit out Wednesday night when the Sacramento Kings take on the Chicago Bulls.
But not because the league told him too.
Yet that doesn’t mean Cousins is playing.
The big man who delivered a right elbow to the head of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Dunleavy on Sunday will not be suspended, according to NBA spokesman Tim Frank. Yet according to a person with knowledge of Cousins’ situation, he is not expected to play because of left leg pain caused by the collision with Dunleavy that preceded the incident in question. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on his behalf.
The league has had a pattern in the past of looking at a player’s history and patterns in deciding punishment, and this was Cousin’s fourth ejection of the season. But the league apparently sided with him that what he did was not deserving of the Flagrant 2 foul designation.
Apparently league disciplinarian Stu Jackson is feeling merciful lately, he also did not fine or suspend the Knicks J.R. Smith for an ejection after a foul to the head (that was the right call, Smith didn’t deserve the ejection in the first place).
What this really brings up is simply the league’s need for more transparency — conspiracy theories about NBA referees thrive because nobody quite understands the secretive world of referee oversight and discipline. Why were these not suspensions? Why have other fouls led to suspensions and fines? Why are the referees on the ground looking at replays and seeing something different than the league, and how is that remedied — the Kings lost that game to the Bucks in a close one that might have been different if Cousins had been on the court.
How the league handles referees needs to be a more open process than how a pope is elected or it give conspiracy theories room to take root.