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How DeMarcus Cousins is securing Paul Westphal’s job

Nov 30, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

DeMarcus Cousins, Paul Westphal

There are problems with the Sacramento Kings — they are not good and seem to be getting worse. They are a terrible shooting team that has the fourth worst offense in the NBA despite having Tyreke Evans in it. Their defense isn’t much better — and it’s all slipping, they are 1-9 in their last 10.

Often, this is when the coach starts to feel his seat get hot. For Paul Westphal is should be a seat of flame right now.

Except, he’s likely not going anywhere for two key reasons, Tom Ziller wisely points out at his brilliant Sactown Royalty.

DeMarcus Cousins is one of them.

Monday Westphal threw Cousins out of practice, this coming after fines and other disciplinary measures. The Kings drafted the talented Cousins No. 5 overall and dismissed others concerns about his attitude and work ethic. The Kings started to make Cousins a key part of their marketing campaign. But so far this season Cousins has not impressed on the court and has appeared to be a challenge off it. A challenge Westphal has had to stand up to.

And as Ziller points out, this puts Kings management in a difficult spot.

And there’s the hard place: if the Kings fire Westphal once it’s widely known he severely clashes with Cousins, the decision can do nothing but embolden Bad Cousins, which is the worst thing possible for the kid’s career. That may seem like Around the Horn-like overblown commentary, but really: what we know about Cousins shows that he takes a foot when offered an inch. From shot selection to these dealings with the coaches — he’s not shy about throwing his weight around, right? Vanquishing a coach Cousins clashes with won’t do anything to help tamp down Cousins’ ego.

The other issue with getting rid of Westphal is money. Of course it is; it is always about money. Sam Amick of FanHouse points out — after noting that players are grumbling about Westphal — that the Maloofs picked up a full season, $2 million contract with their coach. Fire him now and you still have to pay the $2 million, and only Donald Sterling would try to get out of that (and fail). That may not seem like a lot of money compared to the contracts the Kings are paying out, but for a cash-strapped team in a small market that is big bank to pay out for nothing.

If enough players complain about Westphal — specifically Evans — then the Kings may let their coach go anyway. But they need very, very good reasons now because they want to make sure Cousins knows it’s not about him.

So for now, the song remains the same in Sacramento. And Westphal has his job.

  1. zblott - Nov 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Quite predictable:

  2. lebronsinsecurity - Nov 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    I’m honestly not trying to be a smart *ss, call me naive to the situation, but what does Tyreke do that’s so detrimental to this team?? I’m seriously asking a simple question, not trying to bait anyone or talk sh*t.. Any Kings fans out there with some insight??

  3. dhardy8207 - Nov 30, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Hadn’t been following the NBA this season, college football still dominates most of my sports viewing, but I can tell you from first hand experience this is not a new problem with Demarcus. He played high school ball with my son and had problems with authority then. He got into a physical confrontation with one of the coaches after my son graduated and was unable to attend school in the district after that. He had to relocate to south alabama and play for Leflore.

    I was truly hoping that he would do some serious growing during his college years and I think this is truly why the NBA shoots themselves in the foot with recruiting guys right out of high school (Lebron) and they should atleast have 2 years of college ball before attempting to go to that next level. Controlling egos of young men fresh away from home with mega mounts of money and many many people just willing to shower them with all kinds of attention is rarely a feat accomplished!!

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