LOS ANGELES DeMarcus Cousins' decision to leave the locker room to confront a television analyst was costly.
The NBA suspended the Kings' center for two games without pay Sunday for "confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner" after Friday's loss to San Antonio at Sleep Train Arena.
The suspension will cost Cousins $94,653. He was already in Los Angeles for Sunday's game against the Lakers but was not allowed to attend.
Calls to Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie about the incident were not immediately returned.
When Cousins returned to the locker room, he was angry over what he'd been told Elliott said about him.
Elliott had said "some humility is in order" in reference to Cousins, who trash-talked with Spurs star Tim Duncan late in the game. Elliott called Cousins' talking "premature."
"Don't start talking and flapping your gums against one of the greatest players ever," Elliott, a former teammate of Duncan's, said on the broadcast. "He's going to make you pay. Tell me who got the best of this exchange."
Cousins left the locker room, bypassing team officials to wait for Elliott to finish his broadcast. After returning to the locker room, Cousins said Elliott was "immature" for his comments during the game.
Cousins' maturity has been questioned for years and is a reason he was available with the fifth pick in the 2010 draft, even though many scouts believed he was no worse than the second-most talented player in the draft.
Kings coach Keith Smart said this incident shouldn't be seen as a sign Cousins isn't maturing. The center came to training camp in the best shape of his career and has worked to be less abrasive with teammates.
"We're looking for the polished person to eventually come out," Smart said. "You're going to have setbacks We have a 22-year-old guy that had a mistake right here."
This wasn't the first mistake by Cousins that has led to a fine or cost him playing time. This was the third time in three seasons he has missed time for disciplinary reasons but the first time the league handed down the punishment.
In Cousins' rookie season, the Kings fined him after a verbal altercation with the team's strength and conditioning coach. Later that season, Cousins was removed from the team plane and missed a road game after a physical altercation with teammate Donté Greene after a loss.
Early last season, former coach Paul Westphal sent Cousins home from a game after he said the center had requested a trade for a second time. Cousins denied ever asking to be traded.
Smart said the team must stay proactive in dealing with Cousins.
"Let's try to stay 15 steps ahead of the next one," Smart said. "We've got the right people around to keep growing this 22-year-old man into the image of what we all want him to become."
Smart said Cousins must remember his actions not only hurt and reflect poorly on him but on the organization.
The coach likened the relationship he must have with Cousins to that of raising his own children.
"Constant communication (is necessary) to keep him (growing)," Smart said. "I've got to do the same thing with my 16-year-old son. You've got to stay in his ear, stay in his mind.
"Unfortunately, we're in a professional environment that we've got to do those things, but that's where our society is right now."