Shaquille O’Neal suggests Kings frustrated with DeMarcus Cousins, may move on

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DeMarcus Cousins has been everything you expect of him this season. That means a guy averaging 26.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, a guy who can bully opponents in the paint or hit a three, a guy who has the Kings 14 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

That also means a guy who has picked up three technical fouls in 11 games, been fined by the league once, and in another game picked up six fouls in one quarter.

Shaquille O’Neal is a minority owner of the Kings and also part of the barbershop that is Inside the NBA on TNT. When they started talking Kings Thursday — around the election talk — Shaq said some interesting things (first noted by Matt Moore over at CBS).

“In the previous years, he’s been hot-headed, he hasn’t shown great leadership qualities,” O’Neal said. Furthermore, O’Neal said that the team may actually look to trade Cousins if the situation doesn’t improve.

“I’m hearing talk that if things don’t start to become correct, then they may be looking in another direction.”

Three notes here.

First, the sense around the league is that the Kings want to give new coach Dave Joerger a real chance to make it work with Cousins, and they don’t want to trade their star player their first year in the new building.

Second, when teams do check the temperature of the Cousins trade interest, Sacramento’s asking price is ridiculously high.

Third, a lot of executives believe the Kings should consider a move at the deadline and deal Cousins while he has a year-and-a-half on his contract because there is more value (he is a 2018 free agent). Wait until this summer and he could be a rental and teams will offer less in a trade.

Shaq is paid to spout loud opinions, but he is a minority owner of the team — and the Kings minority owners have been a leaky group with their own agendas at times. Primary owner Vivek Ranadive is maybe Cousins’ biggest supporter in the organization, which makes a trade less likely. But at 4-7 to start the season, the Kings don’t look like a playoff team (again, it’s been a decade), and if they are on the outside looking in there are some big decisions to make.