In the latest of what is fast becoming a long list of incidents for DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings Forward/Center has been suspended indefinitely from the team after a heated, profanity riddled exchange with coach Keith Smart at half time of the Kings loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Cousins remained in the locker room for the second half of the game after the exchange, and Kings management has suspended him for “unprofessional behaviour and conduct detrimental to the team”. There has yet to be any indication of how long the suspension will last however Cousins did not join Kings teammates at practice today.
It is not the first suspension for the Kings big man this season, earlier this year he was suspended for a verbal altercation with Spurs broadcaster and former NBA player Sean Elliot. Just weeks later he also received a one game suspension for a shot to the groin of Dallas Mavericks guard OJ Mayo. This latest suspension would definitely appear to be the most significant however, as this could cause further internal turmoil between the team and a player who has previously expressed issues with the management of his role within the organisation.
It has been the Kings intention to rebuild the team around Cousins and would still reportedly be hesitant to deal the talented big man, however teams are certain to be calling and hoping that they could turn around the career of the talented 22 year old. There had not been a great deal of fuel to the trade talk fire until today it was confirmed by Sam Amick of USAToday that Cousins had fired former agent John Greig and hired Dan Fegan, the man responsible most recently for the Dwight Howard trade saga.
Can confirm on Fegan RT @mr_jasonjones: DeMarcus Cousins has also fired his agent John Greig to go with Dan Fegan.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 23, 2012
Howard and Fegan orchestrated their way out of Orlando and forced the Magic to trade their all-star center to a team of his choice or he would threaten to not resign, therefore vetoing any other potential deals. With Cousins being eligible for an extension this off-seasons the pressure is going to be on both parties to establish a productive relationship or a similar situation to that of Howard could quickly unfold with Cousins and the Kings.
With Cousins earning less than $4 million this season with an extra million increase in 2013/14 the possibilities of a trade are far more wide open than those of usual stars. In these circumstances teams often have to navigate the complexities of taking on a max deal while not returning useless assets in order to make up salary. It opens up the possibilities of teams taking on bad contracts from the Kings to add incentive such as those of John Salmons ($16.6m/3 years) and Travis Outlaw ($9m/3 years).
It seems that the list of teams that would be at least somewhat interested in Cousins could stretch as long as the league itself. There are going to be reservations about his character and concerns about his impact on a team however the rarities in his combination of size and skill make him a tempting target for rebuilding teams as well as those trying to make the jump from playoffs to contender.
Seemingly the best outcome for Cousins if he were to be traded would be to land in a situation with an experienced coach and elite level veteran leadership, something he has never experienced in his short NBA career. Some teams that immediately spring to mind are San Antonio with Popovich and Duncan or Boston with Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett.
It is unlikely that the Kings will rush to deal Cousins due to the latest incident, however with his new agent hire and contract talks looming they may look to cash in before his market value drops again. The first question will be how long they maintain the suspension after his altercation with Smart, and then it will be a matter of how the two interact in the days after his return. If there is no improvement in Cousins’ attitude towards the Kings and Fegan starts to intervene we could see a deal sooner rather than later.
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