What changed for Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac?
the sense within the organization is Divac is tempted by the prospect of pairing his center with his personally selected coach but that he has become increasingly frustrated by his center’s ongoing issues and, for the first time, is willing to test the market for the two-time All-Star.
The disconnect between Karl and Divac, and Karl and Cousins, is rivaled closely by the discord within the fragmented locker room. Apart from Rondo, Cousins has few friends among his teammates. Several players privately have complained to management about his mood swings and disrespect for those around him, including his coaches and in particular Karl.
I still doubt Sacramento trades Cousins. There’s a vast gulf between soliciting Cousins offers and actually pulling the trigger on one. He remains one of the NBA’s most valuable players – already a star, 25 and locked up for two more seasons at a reasonable $35 million combined. It’d take a haul to land him, and I doubt any team offers a package that sways Divac – though a few could have him thinking.
But Cousins’ moodiness is a problem. It gets him harmful technical fouls, takes him out of games mentally and – as we learn here – upsets his teammates.
It seems the Kings are attempting to scare him straight – reports like this leaking, including one that their next coach will have management’s backing if he wants to discipline Cousins. They have to try something. Rajon Rondo‘s leadership, while endearing to Cousins, apparently didn’t change the center significantly enough.
I wouldn’t rule out Sacramento trading Cousins. If you put a player on the market, you might just hear an offer you like. But selling low on Cousins a – franchise-level player – would be a mistake. It’s too hard to get a player with his talent just to dump him when he’s still young.
A far better outcome would be Cousins heeding these implicit messages, maturing and cutting out the nonsense that too often overshadows his immense talent.