Well, the Kings really showed DeMarcus Cousins who runs the franchise Tuesday morning, didn’t they?
A $50,000 fine for cursing out and physically intimidating Sacramento Bee columnist Andy Furillo? Days after the All-Star center twice dismissed a local blogger from the media scrum and left a layup line to berate him before a game?
Somewhere out there, Keith Smart, George Karl, Ty Corbin, the league’s referees, the Kings production employee Cousins dressed down last year in the Toronto airport, and all those media members who have had nasty exchanges with the Kings’ best player are shaking their heads.
See. They told you so. The Kings remain masters of the look-away pass.
“The Kings have a clear set of standards of conduct expected of our entire organization,” the organization said in a released statement. “As a result of negative interactions with certain members of the media that were not corrected after verbal warnings, we have decided to impose a substantial fine. If this behavior is repeated again we will be forced to consider further discipline.”
Substantial fine? Further discipline? Sounds like fuzzy math to me. Cousins, who has a year remaining on his contract, earns $15.7 million this season and $16.7 million in 2017-18. His wallet won’t even feel that $50,000 bite, assuming it is actually collected. (The Kings are enablers, remember.)
He is the antithesis of Tim Duncan. Now, I’m a believer that a light can flicker on. But he has a long way to go. He has to stop blaming everyone else.
David Thorpe, ESPN analyst and trainer, on DeMarcus Cousins
Later in the day Cousins issued a statement, apologized to his teammates, fans and organization for some of his actions, but excluded Furillo and other members of the media with whom he’s tangled.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the Kings cleaning up their act with a new building, an energetic young coach, and a young, dynamic roster that appeals to the community.
These were the Kings of old, tone deaf when it comes to media matters, and almost shameless apologists for Cousins’ poor behavior. And who else does he bully besides coaches, reporters, team employees and teammates? Oh, right. The referees. But at least the refs stand up to him. Entering Tuesday, the All-Star center already had been tagged with eight technicals this season, putting him on pace to exceed the allowable limit (16) and earn an automatic suspension before the All-Star break.
Besides the $50,000 fine, there was some speculation the league would require Cousins to attend media training classes, but as of Tuesday afternoon, whether that was included in the penalty remained unclear.
Regardless, the Kings are caught in a sort of no-man’s land – the Cousins conundrum. Seven seasons into his career, the 6-foot-11, 270-pound veteran produces prolific numbers and the Kings still can’t catch a whiff of the playoffs. His moodiness erodes relationships in the locker room, and his petulant demeanor damages his reputation league-wide.
With revenue increasing substantially when the new collective bargaining agreement takes effect, the front office must decide upon a course of action that will have long-term implications: extend Cousins this summer to a multiyear deal; trade him before the February deadline, though major deals rarely take place during the season; wait until his contract expires in 2018 and re-sign him or facilitate a sign-and-trade with another club.
The Kings have a clear set of standards of conduct expected of our entire organization. As a result of negative interactions with certain members of the media that were not corrected after verbal warnings, we have decided to impose a substantial fine. If this behavior is repeated again, we will be forced to consider further discipline.
Kings statement regarding DeMarcus Cousins’ fine
Front office executives and scouts are undeniably impressed by his prodigious individual stats and dominant big man’s skills. But they seldom fail to note that his individual numbers don’t translate into victories and his behavior and conditioning remain chronic issues.
“His trade value is not good right now,” said David Thorpe, a longtime ESPN analyst who also trains several Kings players. “GMs look at DeMarcus and say, ‘You’re asking for trouble.’ He’s not fun to play with. He has made some progress, but it’s tiny progress. He still won’t move the ball early in the (shot) clock, does not want to play fast, has terrible offensive rebounding numbers. He is the antithesis of Tim Duncan. Now, I’m a believer that a light can flicker on. But he has a long way to go. He has to stop blaming everyone else. The Kings have been complacent in that regard, too.
“I’m just telling you,” Thorpe continued. “NBA teams are not used to dealing with this kind of guy. He is a tough nut to crack. Do you even try?”