On the court, DeMarcus Cousins is the only thing keeping the Sacramento Kings from total embarrassment.
But off the court, he’s never been easy for coaches or management trying to keep him in line/control. And if Cousins feels he’s been wronged — by a coach, a referee, whomever — he does not let it go.
He felt frustrated and wronged by George Karl during the Kings’ eventual loss to the Cavaliers Wednesday night and was seen yelling at the team’s coach during a timeout (Karl and Cousins have had a rocky relationship from the start). According to Chris Mannix of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, Cousins felt Karl was not sticking up enough for him to the referees. Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo stepped in between the two to make sure the incident didn’t escalate. However, after the game the arguments continued in the locker room with Karl and GM Vlade Divac, according to reports.
That crossed the line with the team, and Thursday Divac announced that Cousins has been suspended one game by the team. He will sit out Friday night when Sacramento takes on Orlando. Divac also sent him home Thursday from practice.
There has been tension around the Kings this year because meddling owner Vivek Ranadive was demanding a team that would make the playoffs in the West — the Kings are opening a new building next season and had missed the playoffs for the nine seasons before this one. Ranadive wanted momentum entering the new arena. What he’s gotten instead is inconsistent performances from a roster not built to play Karl’s preferred up-tempo style (the Kings play at the fastest pace in the NBA). Still, the Kings were hanging around the playoff picture until winning just one of their last eight games; now they are all but officially out.
Karl was not at practice Thursday as he was having a cancer-related procedure on his throat.
No, this does not mean the Kings are going to trade Cousins this summer. First, Cousins wants to make it work in Sacramento, and he knows there will be a new coach this summer. Second, Cousins is a top 10 NBA player, the best traditional big in the game, he’s on a great contract, and Ranadive loves him as a cornerstone. If you’re a value, and the owner loves you, then you don’t get moved. Third, and most importantly, as mentioned above the Kings open a new building next season — you don’t trade away your best and by far most popular player when you’re trying to sell sponsorships and luxury boxes in a new building.