DeMarcus Cousins says he doesn’t expect Kings to trade him

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Fighting unrelenting chatter that they’ll eventually trade DeMarcus Cousins – some of it emanating from within the organization – the Kings have sent clear signals they will keep him.

One person who has has received those signals?

Cousins himself.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Will the Sacramento Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins before he completes the second-to-last year on his current contract?

Cousins himself, to name one prominent party in this long-running drama, doesn’t expect it.

“Unless you know something I don’t,” Cousins said with a chuckle earlier this week during a brief postgame visit in Dallas with

“I talk to management a lot,” Cousins told “We’re on the same page. I’m not worried about it.

“To know that you’re wanted throughout the league … I’d be worried if nobody wanted me. Then I’d have a situation on my hands. But I’m happy where I am. I’m happy with this team. I’m in a great place.”

This is what Sacramento wants: Cousins happy. Players tend to produce more when they’re pleased with their situation, and Cousins keeps saying he is.

But this isn’t enough. If they keep him until then, the Kings need Cousins on board with them in the summer of 2018, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

It’s a start, though. After numerous turbulent years, Sacramento has its franchise player sounding invested. That’s all the Kings can ask of Cousins right now. But as long as they continue to lose – they’re 8-15 – questions will remain about Cousins’ free-agency plans. And as long as those questions remain, Sacramento should entertain the idea of dealing Cousins.

If the Kings can keep that possibility open and keep Cousins happy, that’s the ideal tightrope to walk. It appears they’re doing it.