In recent news around the Association, Demarcus Cousins has reportedly demanded a trade out of Sacramento. This news came from the head coach Paul Westphal. Yesterday, Cousins was sent home and suspended for a game by Westphal because he demanded a trade from the team. This is an odd scenario created in Sacramento by only a 2nd year player which leaves some doubt in my mind that this is totally the case. This is all that Westphal is leaving us with, though, so we must take what we are getting at face value for now.
In Westphal’s original statement, which I found at Sactown Royalty, he states that Cousins has made it known behind the scenes that he is unwilling and unable to embrace traveling in the same direction at the team. He says Cousins had twice demanded a trade. Once on December 24th(before the season even started) and then once on Sunday. Since the news broke the Kings have come out and said that they will not consider trading Cousins.
According to Y! Sports, Cousins was heard having a shouting match with Paul Westphal that lead to all this. A player on the Kings roster was questioned about what had happened. He said that Cousins and Westphal had an argument, this isn’t the first time by the way, and Cousins could be heard shouting “Trade me now”. There is a clear frustration between Cousins and Westphal and something has to give.
More and more this is looking like it has gotten personal to Paul Westphal. Cousins hasn’t been much trouble this season to the league. He has only gotten one technical foul thus far and it was a double technical. We all know that Cousins has a temper, but his talent is immense so teams put up with it. It seems more and more that Westphal can’t handle the task of turning Cousins into more of a professional. Cousins has shown us signs in the offseason, at the end of last season, and this season’s beginning that he is trying to grow into a true NBA player. To me, it just seems like Westphal doesn’t get along with Cousins at all. It all shows too; from the press release with only him on Cousins demanding a trade, to his comments about it being the best for the franchise to basically get rid of Cousins. It definitely shows that he has lost Cousins, possibly even more of the locker room.
Plenty of Kings players have come out and said that their offense is a bad one. Even Tyreke Evans himself, the Kings best player, has said that the players don’t know where to be and get lost on the floor.
“I just try to get open as I can and create,” Evans said. “It’s no real set for me, nobody really in the offense. Just pass, cut. We lost; nobody really knows what to do. I think that’s what’s really hurting us right now.”
That’s a real indictment to what needs to happen in Sacto; I think it may be time for Westphal to be on his way.
As for Cousins demanding a trade, I think it has to do more with Westphal than management. There is a clear tension between those two and someone has to go. The Kings say they are not looking to move Cousins; especially in his 2nd year as a player. I think that would be the right move by them, but if I were other NBA teams around the league I wouldn’t hesitate to make a call to the Kings. I know Cousins has attitude problems on the floor, but he has had no off court issues to prove to us that he is a bad apple. He has shown commitment to the game of basketball; people thought that he would slack off in the lockout offseason and he did the exact opposite. Cousins was around the country working out and participating in exhibition games. He came into camp slimmed down and in shape to play this season.
If you have a strong locker room presence I think it would be wise to take a chance on Cousins. Not many coaches think that they can handle him, but I know there are some who do. He’s not a totally uncoachable kid; if it works out then the talent that you bring has all star potential. It is a high risk, immense reward type deal.
I think that the cure all here, just as with anything else in sports, is winning. If Cousins is in a situation where he is winning games and in a place where his coach is putting his players in position to do just that he would be fine. There is a clear disconnect between Westphal and a lot of the players on the Sacramento roster. There needs to be a change somewhere and it usually starts at the top. When you have two players as talented as Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, you should be able to do a lot with them. It isn’t as easy as it looks to coach an NBA team, but those are two of the most talented players to come out in recent drafts. The Oklahoma City Thunder are the perfect example of what happens when you have a team that is perfectly built through the draft. The Kings are trying to follow that mold and its working out horribly. I think a change is needed after these past few years of failure. It starts with Paul Westphal and Geoff Pietre; until something happens with them the Kings will continue to be bottom feeders in the NBA.