JULIE JACOBSON / Associated Press

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins gets back on defense during a scrimmage at Team USA's minicamp in Las Vegas.

Cousins pledges loyalty to Kings

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013 - 1:42 pm

LAS VEGAS – DeMarcus Cousins has never wanted to be a player who demands a trade and has no intention of doing so.

His first three seasons in Sacramento have been long on drama and short on wins. And with the Kings under new ownership and management, Cousins would like to be a part of that change.

"I'm loyal to my city," he said. "That's one thing I am. I'm loyal. That's the biggest thing. I'm not going to give up on it."

Following practice Monday at Team USA's minicamp at UNLV's Mendenhall Center, Cousins spoke in detail to reporters for the first time since Vivek Ranadive became the principal owner of the Kings, Pete D'Alessandro the general manager and Michael Malone the coach.

The silence, at agent Dan Fegan's behest, led some to believe Cousins wanted out of Sacramento, especially if he doesn't receive the maximum contract allowed under the collective bargaining agreement – five years at approximately $80 million.

There has been no trade demand or deadline given to the Kings to make a deal. The league-imposed deadline is Oct. 31, and Cousins' representatives would like a deal done without having to wait until next offseason.

Cousins didn't discuss his contract status, saying only he's focused on Team USA and making a better appearance than he did a year ago with the Select Team that practiced against the Olympic squad.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said his comments last year about Cousins being immature were blown out of proportion. So Cousins had no reservations about returning to try to earn a spot on the national team. Cousins also has no reservations saying he wants to play for the Kings next season and beyond.

"I do want to be a King," he said. "I do."

Cousins says he remains loyal to the Kings even though he hasn't always felt the same loyalty in return. He clashed with Paul Westphal and Keith Smart, coaches he believes didn't have his best interest in mind.

So far, the Kings' new management has gone out of its way to build trust with Cousins.

D'Alessandro, Malone and part owner Junior Bridgeman visited Cousins at his home in Mobile, Ala., to get to know him better.

Ranadive, whose first phone call after purchasing the Kings was to Cousins, says the 22-year-old is the franchise's cornerstone.

"It's something I already knew, but I'm glad it's being said," Cousins said. "So I'm going to take my opportunity, and I'm going to do my damn best … to lead this team to some wins."

Cousins also likes that D'Alessandro has asked for his input on free agents.

"Me and Pete talk," Cousins said. "He asks me what players I like, what players I don't like. We've been going back and forth about that. That never happened before. I believe that it should have, but hey … "

Cousins applauds the Kings' aggressiveness in free agency and is excited about the additions of guard Greivis Vasquez, and power forwards Luc Mbah a Moute and Carl Landry.

Suspended numerous times by the league and team in his short career, Cousins said he will continue to work in his role as a team leader. That includes watching his demeanor, which can offend teammates.

"I'm an aggressive guy, and sometimes I come off very aggressive to my teammates," Cousins said.

"And it's not anything personal. That's just my personality. (I'm working on) just coming with a better approach."

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

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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