Sacramento Kings: Cousins Situation is Case of Conflicting Statements


The Sacramento Kings finally seem to be in a position where things are looking up. Their 29 wins in the 2014-2015 season were the most since they won 38 in 2007-2008. DeMarcus Cousins has become the superstar talent that he had the potential to be when the Kings drafted him fifth overall in 2010. Last season, Cousins averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and minutes. At just 24 years old, there is still room for him to improve, which is a scary thought.

The team found a legitimate second scoring option in Rudy Gay, as he averaged a career-best 21.1 points last season. When Cousins was out with injuries, Gay was normally the guy picking up the scoring slack. But at the end of the season, it was difficult to keep both guys on the court at the same time. If both are able to stay healthy for an entire season, they can be one of the best one-two punches in basketball.

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Behind them, there are solid players in Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Omri Casspi, and other young players who are improving, and helping the team build upon their improvements. And with the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, the Kings are in a prime position to select another player to be a vital key to the future.

But head coach George Karl seems intent on taking the biggest piece to the team’s future, Cousins, and trading him away. Or does he? The answer changes based on who you’re asking at this point. Nearly everyone with knowledge of the situation says that Karl is dead set on moving Cousins, including Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, who says Karl has an “intent desire” to wash his hands of Cousins.

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Kings’ Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac has a different view of things, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voison. The scribe tweeted that Divac, who was very irritated, is “not trading Cousins,” and that he “denies Karl pushing for any deal involving Cousins.”

Team owner Vivek Ranadive backed up Divac’s stance, saying that “we have zero interest in moving Cousins,” adding that “he’s a one-of-a-kind player…and we’re going to build on it.”

Despite the higher-ups’ determination to keep Cousins in Sacramento and build around him, Karl has a different idea in mind. Karl reportedly wants to trade Cousins to the Denver Nuggets, the team that Karl used to coach. In return, the Kings would get point guard Ty Lawson and power forward Kenneth Faried, both of whom played under Karl during his Denver days.

Another rumor that has gained a lot of steam is that the Los Angeles Lakers are extremely interested in trading for Cousins. The Lakers are reportedly ready to part with their second overall pick in this year’s draft, and last year’s seventh overall pick, Julius Randle, who missed the final 81 games of his rookie season after breaking his right tibia in the season-opening game.

As Bomani Jones said on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” on Tuesday, if the Kings hadn’t gotten rid of two coaches last season, this might be a fireable offense. Cousins had his best season last year, and was not nearly as problematic with his attitude as he had been in past years. He seemed to take a big step in his maturity, but this new relationship with coach Karl is taking a bad turn very quickly.

Management seems very intent on keeping Cousins in Sacramento and building the franchise around him. The team’s head coach seems very intent on keeping Cousins away from Sacramento as he attempts to build up the franchise. The situations is quickly dissolving into a chest-beating match. The four big parties, Ranadive, Divac, Karl, and Cousins, all have to figure out a way to get on the same page. If not, that once-promising future could lead to more of the same old, same old.

Next: Kings Should Hold on to Sixth Pick