After plenty of speculation, the NBA did not suspend DeMarcus Cousins for Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins was ejected after being called for two technical fouls Monday at Golden State, and Kings general manager Vlade Divac said he thought the league would suspended Cousins for his theatrics before leaving the floor when he tried to approach referee Mitchell Ervin and had to be kept away by teammates and assistant coach Corliss Williamson.
Kings coach George Karl said he spoke with Cousins about the incident briefly Wednesday after not having a chance to talk to him Monday.
“I think there’s moments like this, I don’t know there needs to be a lot of talk,” Karl said. “He knows we need him to be stronger. He is getting stronger, he is getting better.
“ So one side I’m disappointed, the other side I want to continue the process of improving.”
Cousins clashing with officials was a bigger issue for him earlier in his career. While he’s not likely to be going out to lunch with a group of referees, Monday was the first time he’d been ejected this season.
“A lot of things in this game, with the intensity and the mental stress and the winning and losing, it’s not a perfect learning experience,” Karl said. “ From my short conversations I’ve had with him, he’s respectful of what’s going on.”
Reunion – Karl has two assistant coaches who were on Philadelphia’s staff last season.
Vance Walberg joined Karl’s staff during last season. Chad Iske joined Karl’s staff over the summer as associate head coach.
For the coaches, it was a chance to reunite with Karl, who they worked with in Denver. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was in support of them coming to Sacramento.
“Our situation isn’t for everybody,” Brown said of the team with the worst record in the league. “I learned a lot from them. They were great company and fantastic bench coaches.”
Brown’s ties to Karl’s staff go beyond Iske and Walberg. He also coached Kings assistant John Welch in New Zealand in the late 1980s.
Injury update – The Kings have been without rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein since he suffered an open dislocation of his right index finger Dec. 3 against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City.
Cauley-Stein’s prognosis was a four-to-six week recovery, and he was recently cleared to increase his work on the court.
“(Wednesday) was the first day he was active, very active,” Karl said. “I don’t think he played anybody on the team, but he played with our assistant coaches. He dribbled the ball, shot the ball and probably went 70 percent, 80 percent.
“Maybe he went full speed, I should have asked him,” Karl said with a laugh. “Looked like 70 percent, 80 percent to me.”