DeMarcus Cousins Sources say the talented but volatile center does not want to be traded, even though he failed to meet the goals that he and the organization had set for his third season.

Ranadive takes control of Kings

Published: Saturday, Jun. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 - 7:42 am

The ownership group headed by Vivek Ranadive officially assumed control of the Kings on Friday morning, announced the expected firing of coach Keith Smart later in the day and likely will introduce Mike Malone as the new coach in the coming days.

While the search for a new general manager continues, Ranadive has found time to reach out to DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings' talented but sometimes problematic center.

Ranadive's first call after the NBA's board of governors approved the sale Tuesday was to Cousins, according to sources close to the situation. Sources also confirmed that Cousins will be in California in the days ahead to meet with Ranadive and Malone.

The sources emphasized that Cousins does not want to be traded, even though he failed to meet the goals that he and the organization had set for his third season.

Cousins' scoring and rebounding averages – 17.1 and 9.9, respectively – fell from his previous (second) season in the league, even though his shooting percentage improved to 46.5 percent. And Cousins was suspended three times last season, twice by the NBA and once by the team.

With changes in ownership and in the front office, teams likely will inquire about Cousins' availability. But Cousins isn't looking to be traded, the sources said, even though he hired a new agent, Dan Fegan, in December partly to help him land the maximum contract extension he's eligible for this summer.

Though last season's drop in production and his suspensions likely cost Cousins the chance at that extension from the Kings, Fegan could try to force a trade to a team that would agree to give him a maximum deal.

During Cousins' three seasons with the Kings, teams have inquired about his availability, especially after publicized run-ins with coaches and teammates, but outgoing basketball president Geoff Petrie never was inclined to deal Cousins.

From the Kings' perspective, there's no need to rush to decide since Cousins can't become a free agent until after next season.

Even then, the Kings can make Cousins a restricted free agent, allowing them to match any offer if the parties cannot agree to an extension.

On Friday, the search continued for the man who likely will make a recommendation to Ranadive about Cousins' future.

The Kings already have interviewed Memphis general manager Chris Wallace and Golden State assistant general manager Travis Schlenk.

Another name that has surfaced is Mike Dunleavy, a former head coach and executive who was last with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010. And a league source indicated that Denver Nuggets executive Pete D'Alessandro could be in the mix, too.

D'Alessandro is the assistant to the executive vice president of basketball operations, but the Nuggets' front office is in flux after basketball vice president Masai Ujiri left to run the basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors.

If D'Alessandro doesn't replace Ujiri, he could find a role in Sacramento.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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