DeMarcus Cousins made a mistake, going after a Sacramento Bee columnist in the locker room after a game for something that had been written referencing Cousins’ brother.
It cost Cousins $50,000, and on Tuesday he issued this statement:
“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction, and I look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”
Here are a few thoughts.
• That is not an apology to the veteran Sacramento Bee columnist. I read the column, which referenced Cousins’ brother in the second-to-last paragraph of a long story suggesting Cousins needs to make better decisions. Cousins basically just proved the writer’s point with the outburst.
• Cousins was spot on about the timing and setting being all wrong. There isn’t any media member doing his/her job who hasn’t gotten a call from a team media representative/executive/coach to privately tell you exactly why they thought on a particular story you had your head up your… you get the idea. But these are blunt discussions that happen in private, the situation is treated with mutual respect — and usually there is more when it is over. You hear the other side’s point of view and understand where they are coming from. What Cousins did was try to bully a media member in public to stop criticism. It backfired.
• If you’re an NBA GM — let’s hypothetically say one of a major East Coast media market where the team is in need of one more elite star to be a contender — this incident has to give you pause. Sacramento is a one-paper town (the Bee) where the spotlight isn’t incredibly bright, the media is generally supportive, and where the scrutiny is not as intense. Yet Cousins has still had public issues with the Bee as well as blogs like Sactown Royalty (which is a fantastic read, but why is Cousins reading everything about him?). If he struggles with the criticism in Sacramento, how is he going to handle a bigger media market where there will be guys nightly trying to poke the bear and get a reaction.
• That said, if the Kings did decide to trade him a few teams would step up with significant offers. He’s still a beast on the court, the best traditional center in the game.
• My guess is Cousins stays with the Kings, and I mean long term. They were very likely to keep him all season anyway (the owner wants to keep him, and they are just two games out of the playoffs), then see this summer if he was thinking of leaving via free agency, which would force their hand. Except, now the Kings can go to Cousins this summer and offer him the “designated player” extension of five-years, roughly $210 million. He’s going to look at his options for free agency in 2018, then take the cash and re-sign. And the dysfunctional marriage in Sacramento will continue.