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The complexity of the Kings’ Cousins situation

Jan 2, 2012, 12:53 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

Following the Kings’ press release from Coach Paul Westphal concerning DeMarcus Cousins‘ behavior following a recent loss, the Kings are kind of facing a disaster.

To list the things that should not happen in a professional sports organization

  • A professional ball player should not behave in such a way as to elicit multiple suspensions and a press release stating that he has asked for a trade and has been sent home.
  • A coach should not, under any circumstances, issue a press release stating that a player has demanded a trade. That should come from the GM, from ownership, from a team spokesman on behalf of the entire organization. But in general, it should never happen, period. It paints the player into a corner and alienates him. Did Cousins put himself out on that plank? Absolutely. But you don’t respond to an employee acting inappropriately by releasing a statement regarding their behavior. You either fire them or work to re-integrate them. reports that it wasn’t even a real trade demand. Reportedly during yet another long argument with Paul Westphal, who Cousins has clashed with multiple times over the years, did say “Trade me!” but it was meant in the tone of “If that’s how you feel, then trade me!”

So who’s wrong here? Everyone. Cousins is 21 years old. He’s a big boy. He gets to make his own decisions. And while pretty much everyone over the age of 21 can look back at being 21 and acknowledge that they were full of stupidity and immaturity, Cousins has a professional obligation to conduct himself better. Maybe the situation really is that bad. But if that’s the case, your representation is fully charged and capable of handling your situation.

Westphal’s in a spot. The team’s bad, he’s on the hot seat, the ownership made a handful of dubious decisions over the past three months. He’s likely to be fired, he’s been in the league a long enough time to not have to deal with this kind of abuse from a 21 year old. But that’s part of coaching. Maybe it wasn’t his idea to release the statement, maybe it was a suggestion from PR or an order from management. But the impact is the same. This isn’t about Cousins, it’s about a reflection on the organization and specifically the coaching staff that indicates they alienate and throw players under the bus.

So now they almost have to trade him. Keep him and you’ve neutered Westphal, which is worse than firing him (especially since he still gets paid). So instead, they have mortgaged leverage and now have to find some sort of way to move him without endangering their entire rebuilding project. Let’s be clear, Cousins can play. He’s off to a hard start this year, but he’s also obviously not mentally checked in. The kid has the talent, no one has ever denied that.

Furthermore, Cousins isn’t a “bad kid.” He hasn’t gotten in trouble with the law. His run ins with teammates and coaches are basketball related, not about gambling or women or anything else. That doesn’t mean he’s a good teammate; he’s clearly not. But it does impact what we’re talking about here.

The Kings’ season has been weird. It just got a lot weirder.

  1. asublimeday - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Bulls don’t need him, but we’ll take him. Our stars enjoy watching from the bench as our back-ups finish off 40-point blowouts. Rose for the MVP repeat and his first of many rings.

  2. chaothao - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Sounds like suh from the lions

  3. seattlesuperchronic - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    Suh is a good comparison, they’re both turds.

    • makjak2 - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      Nah, Suh plays his ass off every game and changes that team from an average one without him to a very good one with him. But yeah, stomping people in the nuts is a no no.

  4. nbascreed - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    1. If Cousins is traded he needs to go to Miami, Chicago or Boston. Teams with strong established stars who he will have to respect (think Rodman/Bulls). Anything else will be a disaster. Fault may be shared among parties in this situation but Cousins will be a malcontent anywhere his services are NEEDED and not just wanted.

    2. I’ve seen the Kings thrice (thanks for the free league pass Premier Stern) and am I the only one that thinks they have major duplication of position issues in the backcourt. It’s like every guard on the team feels like it’s their duty to score 1:1. Evans, Thornton, Fredette, Salmons and Thomas. I’ve been least impressed with Evans and most with Fredette and that’s not really saying much even though I like Jimmer. I thought Evans was supposed to be a game changer but he looks like just another volume scorer (i.e. Ellis, Kevin Martin) who has lucked into a team that is forced to give him shots and subsequently a big contract as a result of those shots???

  5. themanchine - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM


  6. edavidberg - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    This guy makes Metta World Peace look mentally stable.

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