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DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins Speaks Highly Of Mavs’ Organization

DeMarcus Cousins believes his brother, Jaleel, who plays for the Mavericks‘ D-League affiliate, is in a great situation, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“It’s the Mavericks. It’s one of the best franchises in the league,” Cousins said. “[Mark] Cuban’s a great guy. [Rick Carlisle‘s] a great guy. [Jaleel is] under some good people. I’m confident in the franchise and I’m confident in his abilities, as well. I think it’s a good situation for him.”

The Mavs have inquired about the availability of Cousins in the past and they are expected to be among the teams expressing interest in the big man at the trade deadline should the Kings fall out of the playoff race, Townsend notes. It remains unlikely that the Mavs can acquire Cousins in a trade since they have little to offer. The team can’t trade its 2017 draft pick until after it selects a player on draft night since it went without a first-round selection last year as result of the Rajon Rondo deal.

Dallas could always attempt to sign Cousins during the summer of 2018 when the center will be an unrestricted free agent. Townsend notes that Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, has a strong working relationship with the franchise.

Cousins told Townsend that he has respect for the Mavs and added that it was “flattering” to hear that the they were interested in him. Townsend was dubious of his response, questioning the big man since he had apparently said in the past that he “liked” Sacramento as well. Cousins then corrected the reporter and exclaimed, “I love Sacramento.”

Matt Barnes In New York City Nightclub Fight

Kings forward Matt Barnes talked to police today to give his side of an alleged choking incident in a New York City nightclub, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea.

In a story first reported by TMZ, Barnes is accused of choking a woman and assaulting two other people who tried to intervene. He offered an explanation in a statement today on his Instagram account, posting, “There’s always two sides to a story.. The side the media consistently tries to paint of me…. And what actually happened! Don’t believe everything you read.”

The confrontation took place early this morning at the Avenue Nightclub, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Barnes said he was slapped by a women he “accidentally butt bumped” as he headed toward the VIP section, then claims he was knocked to the floor by several men, one of whom tried to choke him.

TMZ reports that teammate DeMarcus Cousins came to Barnes’ defense. Cousins claims he doesn’t know what started the incident, but said someone tried to choke Barnes.

Barnes’ attorney, Alex Spiro, sent an email to the Sacramento Bee proclaiming his client’s innocence.

“We do not believe a crime was committed,” Spiro wrote. “We are cooperating with law enforcement and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”

The 36-year-old Barnes has become a valuable team leader since rejoining the Kings this summer. He is averaging 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists through 20 games.

The team released a statement this afternoon, saying, “We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Kerr, Watson, Walton

DeMarcus Cousins is off to the best start of his career and may finally have the coach he has been wanting, writes Paul Flannery of SB Nation. None of that may stop trade rumors as the Kings continue to compile a losing record, just as they have through Cousins’ first six seasons. Many observers believe Cousins will head out of Sacramento when his contract expires in the summer of 2018, but unlike teammate Rudy Gay, Cousins hasn’t spoken publicly about leaving. One factor in keeping him may be new coach Dave Joerger, who has established a strong rapport with the big man. It has been a welcome change from George Karl, who had an ongoing feud with Cousins throughout his brief tenure. “He’s amazingly talented,” Joerger said. “We watched his talent get better every year from the other sideline. Like man, this guy just keeps getting better. And then when I got to coach him, I’m like, holy cow. He is incredibly talented. And then, the way that he has gone about his business and grown. Again from the other sideline to now here, he has really grown in the way he handles his business. Whether it’s practice, shootarounds, games, dealing with officials, handling adversity. Those two things have impressed me.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who sparked a controversy when he talked about trying marijuana to ease his back pain, believes the NBA should study the medical properties of the substance, relays Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The league continues to drug test players and coaches, but Kerr said some exceptions should be considered in the new collective bargaining agreement. “I think the league should look into the use of medicinal marijuana for pain relief,” Kerr said. “As far as recreational, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about pain relief and what’s best for our players’ health. That’s what should be in the CBA, and that’s what our owners and the league and the players’ union should be most concerned with.”
  • An opposing view comes from Suns coach Earl Watson, who as a youth saw many of his friends use marijuana as a gateway to harder drugs, writes ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “I think our rhetoric on it has to be very careful because you have a lot of kids where I’m from that’s reading this, and they think [marijuana use is] cool,” Watson said. “It’s not cool. Where I’m from, you don’t get six fouls to foul out. You get three strikes. One strike leads to another. I’m just being honest with you, so you have to be very careful with your rhetoric.”
  • Restrictive NCAA rules soured Luke Walton on the idea of college coaching, according to Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Walton spent a year as an assistant at the University of Memphis in 2011, but didn’t like the limitations he had to follow. “The time I spent and was allowed to be with the players on the court, I really loved,” Walton said. “But because of all the other stuff, it was nice to realize the NBA was probably the way I wanted to go instead of college.”

Eastern Rumors: Cousins, Noel, George

DeMarcus Cousins is well aware that many Celtics fans want him in Boston but he hasn’t ruled out signing an extension with the Kings, A. Sherrod Blakely of reports. Cousins, who isn’t eligible to hit the free agent market until 2018, told Blakely he would not rule out the possibility of staying with Sacramento long-term. “I got a season and a whole other season,” Cousins said. “I focus on these guys right here; I focus on winning games; I focus on making the playoffs; that’s it.” However, Cousins is unfazed about the constant trade chatter, in which Boston is prominently mentioned as a logical match. “Most of the rumors come from people who want me on their team,” he told Blakely. “It doesn’t bother me.”
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
  • Nerlens Noel isn’t happy about the logjam in the Sixers’ frontcourt, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Noel is skeptical that there will be enough minutes to go around, now that Joel Embiid has established himself, Narducci continues. “I don’t think the roster’s changed,” Noel told Narducci. Noel, sidelined by a knee injury since training camp, returned to the team on Thursday after working out with its D-League affiliate. But coach Brett Brown estimates Noel will miss four or five more games, Narducci adds.
  • Guard Josh Richardson returned to Miami during the Heat’s current three-game road trip to get treatment for his sore ankle, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Richardson suffered the injury against the Celtics on Monday. Miami is already playing without two of its top wings, Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters, due to injuries. “It’s an easy decision for us,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other beat writers. “His ankle is really sore. He has a bunch of other little, minor things going on. So we just wanted to go back, get his body right, feel right for the next three days, four days. We’ll reevaluate him then.”
  • Pacers star Paul George plans to return to action on Sunday after missing six of the last seven games with an ankle injury, according to Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. George feels like his team, which is one game under .500, needs his leadership on the court. “I think just sitting out and watching, I’ve got to get back to being the guy for us,” he told Taylor. “I’ve got to have the trust of the team, I’ve got to have the trust of the organization. This has been my group, this has been my team. I’ve got to get back to that.”

Kings Notes: Cousins, Casspi, Gay, Stauskas

Kings coach Dave Joerger has gone back to a bigger starting lineup in an effort to improve the team’s defense, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Kosta Koufos is back with the starters, being used at center with DeMarcus Cousins at power forward. Joerger briefly tried a small-ball starting lineup, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. “I’m trying to protect DeMarcus a little bit by letting Kosta take the hits on a bigger guy like [Washington Wizards center Marcin] Gortat,” Joerger said. “And defensively more pick-and-rolls and try to save [Cousins’] legs for the end.” 

There’s more news out of Sacramento:

  • Cousins continues to put up incredible numbers, averaging 28.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per night, but the Kings need more production from their complementary players, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea“We’ve just got to be better,” Omri Casspi said after Monday’s overtime loss at Washington. “Our bench guys and our role players have to do a better job of helping DeMarcus. It feels like he’s doing anything he can to win the game for us. We’ve just got to be better.”
  • Rudy Gay confirmed that he has left Octagon Basketball, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Gay, who has suggested that he won’t be re-signing with Sacramento after he becomes a free agent next summer, may be joining Roc Nation, an agency headed by rapper Jay Z (Twitter link). However, he told Jones that the change isn’t related to his impending free agency (Twitter link).
  • Nik Stauskas says it doesn’t bother him to hear that the Kings feel like they should have drafted someone else in 2014, Jones posts on Facebook. Owner Vivek Ranadive recently told Amick that he preferred Magic guard Elfrid Payton over Stauskas as the No. 8 pick. “Like I said, they did me a favor sending me here to Philadelphia,” Stauskas replied. “I’ve had a really good opportunity to play even though I hadn’t been performing though my first year with the Sixers. I’m thankful that the organization gave me an opportunity, they drafted me, but if they felt like the made a mistake by drafting me then they felt like they made a mistake. I can’t do anything about it now.”

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Afflalo, Lakers, Chriss

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins frequently talks to his former Kentucky teammates about reuniting in the NBA, tweets Ben Standig of Locked on Wizards. Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game at Washington, Cousins addressed the possibility of someday joining forces with Wizards point guard John Wall“He wants me here,” Cousins said. Eric [Bledsoe] wants us in Phoenix.” Cousins will be a free agent after the 2017/18 season, and although he has been the subject of trade rumors, his public stance is that he wants to remain with the Kings. Wall won’t be a free agent until 2019. “Do we ever talk about playing with one another? Is that your question? It’s come up,” said Cousins. “They’re going to all come to Sac. Come to Sac.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Arron Afflalo is willing to be flexible as Kings coach Dave Joerger searches for the best lineup, relays Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Afflalo, who signed with Sacramento in July for $25MM over two years, was used as both a starter and a reserve last week. “You can’t fault a coach for trying to win and trying to find guys that work together,” he said. “But for me personally, I take pride in being a versatile basketball player, so sometimes coaches can see the benefit of me coming off the bench, and sometimes I’m a necessary stability piece in the starting lineup. It just depends.” Joerger has used a different starting lineup in each of the team’s last five games.
  • Offseason additions have made the Lakers better able to handle injuries than they have been in recent years, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Veteran point guard Jose Calderon, who was picked up in a July trade with the Bulls, has stepped into the starting lineup with D’Angelo Russell sidelined, and well-traveled power forward Thomas Robinson, who signed a non-guaranteed deal in September, started a game in place of Julius Randle. That has enabled coach Luke Walton to keep his bench rotation intact.
  • The Suns are willing to be patient through rookie power forward Marquese Chriss‘ growing pains, including Sunday’s bench technical, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Chriss had one of his worst game as a pro with just two points and five fouls in 10 minutes. “Bench Ts put you on the bench in the second half,” said coach Earl Watson. “So it’s an accountable moment. But he’ll learn. He knows I love him. He’ll learn. He’ll move forward.”

Stein/Lowe On Cousins, George, Noel, Monroe

In a Wednesday edition of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe discussed several teams who could make a trade at some point this season, and several players who are candidates to be moved. Both ESPN reporters agreed that the Trail Blazers are one of the most likely clubs to complete a deal within the next three months, with Lowe suggesting he’d be “blown away” if Portland doesn’t make at least one trade. Stein also identified the Kings, Suns, Nuggets, and Celtics as clubs to watch for potential deals.

Here are several more highlights from the discussion:

  • “I’ve had a couple guys from other teams tell me they’re hearing that the Kings are starting to get sick of [DeMarcus] Cousins, whatever that means,” Lowe said at one point. Lowe added that there are so many voices involved in the Kings’ decision-making process – in ownership and the front office – that it’s hard to know exactly what the team is thinking. Some decision-makers may want to move Cousins, while others would rather keep him.
  • During the conversation about Cousins, Stein said that the latest word out of Sacramento still suggests the Kings don’t want to move their star big man, though teams around the NBA think the Kings will – or should – make a move by the deadline to maximize Cousins’ value. In Lowe’s view, at least one or two suitors would be willing to give up “a lot” for Cousins, despite the posturing going on at this point to downplay his value.
  • Both Stein and Lowe are frequently asked whether Paul George might become available, and Stein points out that if teams are asking reporters about it, they’re probably asking the Pacers as well. George is extension-eligible and Indiana has expressed interest in locking him up to a max deal, but nothing has happened so far, so teams may sense an opening. However, Lowe hears that most people expect Pacers president Larry Bird to “take it to the end” with George, and to avoid trading him at all costs.
  • Lowe confirms a couple trade rumors that have been reported in the past, noting that the Raptors and Sixers discussed a possible deal that would have sent Nerlens Noel to Toronto for Terrence Ross and at least one other piece. The Pelicans have also had “semi-serious talks” with the Bucks about Greg Monroe over the course of the last six to 12 months. Nothing is imminent on either front though, and Lowe isn’t sure exactly what New Orleans would give up for Monroe.
  • Stein and Lowe both agree that Monroe’s trade value is very low, with Stein observing that there’s more supply than demand for big men on the trade market right now. Lowe also wonders how Monroe will handle his 2017/18 player option (worth nearly $18MM) if the Bucks keep him and continue to bury him in the rotation, crushing his value — he could exercise it out of spite, or opt out if he badly wants to find a better situation.
  • According to Lowe, the Mavericks were among the teams hoping Dennis Schroder would reach free agency in 2017, but his new extension with the Hawks took that possibility off the table.

Western Notes: Garnett, Cousins, Sabonis

Clippers coach Doc Rivers knew Kevin Garnett was going to leave the game quietly, as Jerry Zgoda of The StarTribune writes. “[Garnett and Tim Duncan are] complete opposites and yet they’re very much the same in some ways,” said Rivers, the coach of the Clippers. “In that way, you knew Kevin was going to leave quietly, which you don’t say about Kevin very often. You knew Tim would the same thing, and they both did. They both literally left the game and said goodbye and you didn’t see them again.” Rivers, who coached Garnett for six seasons in Boston, added that the future Hall of Famer misses the camaraderie in the locker room, but does not miss everything about the game. “I don’t think he misses the work anymore, and he put in as much work as any player I’ve ever seen,” Rivers added.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t think the Kings are playing with enough urgency, James Ham of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “Once again, we’re just waiting until the last minute to play with energy, play with a sense of urgency, play with some pride, play with some heart,” Cousins lamented. “I mean, it’s all fun, it’s exciting in the end – you feel like we’re playing good and making the right steps, but these games are only going to continue to get harder for us if we wait until the last quarter or I guess you could say second half to try to make a push. We’ve got to start having complete games.”
  • Coach Dave Joerger understands the center’s frustration and said that changes are coming for the Kings, Ham passes along in the same piece. “I’ve seen enough, I’m going to play small” Joerger said. “DeMarcus is going to play center. I don’t know who else is going to play with him, but it gives us more zip, more life, more experience.”
  • The Thunder are heavily wagering on Domantas Sabonis becoming part of the team’s core, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes.  Sabonis has started at power forward this season and while he’s impressed at times offensively, he has struggled overall. Tjarks argues that the Thunder can’t wait too long for Sabonis to improve his play since they have a superstar in his prime and they needs to give him the best chance at winning right now.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, D-League, Magic

The Hawks‘ ownership group is committed to putting a championship-caliber team on the floor and they are willing to spend what it takes to achieve that goal, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The franchise has begun construction on a $50MM practice facility and it reached an agreement with the City of Atlanta on $192MM worth of renovations to Philips Arena. Vivlamore hears from several sources within the organization that additional initiatives are yet to come.

The Hawks appreciates the ongoing improvements. “I feel like I’ve been saying how excited we are about a lot of things the last couple weeks, months,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I continue to say how excited I am and I genuinely mean it. It’s kind of mind-boggling for us who have been here for three or four years and making these things a priority.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks are expected to get their own D-League affiliate , but they won’t likely have an team until the 2019/20 season after an arena is built. Matt Kempner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the new arena, which will be located in College Park, will likely cost between $20MM and $40MM to construct.
  • The Magic are struggling on the offensive end this season and they should explore the trade market for help, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel opines. The scribe names Rudy Gay and Brandon Knight among the possible additions. Schmitz also argues that putting together a package that brings in DeMarcus Cousins would be a sound move for the franchise since it desperately needs All-Star talent.

Pacific Rumors: Thompson, Warriors, Cousins, Casspi

The anatomy of a bad trade rumor was on display earlier this week, as CSNNE analyst Brian Scalabrine suggested during a radio appearance that he’d heard a possible deal involving the Warriors, Klay Thompson, and the Celtics could be on the table. As it turns out, Scalabrine was simply passing along speculation he had read on a blog, rather than reporting anything substantial.

As Sam Amick of USA Today writes, a source quickly shot down the idea that the Warriors are entertaining any trade talks involving Thompson with the Celtics or anyone else. Meanwhile, one team executive told Sam Amico of (Twitter link) that his club had talked to Golden State about Thompson, but that exec didn’t get the impression that the Warriors had any interest in moving him. The Dubs could use some defensive help, particularly around the rim, but the idea of trading one half of the Splash Brothers to beef up that interior defense appears to be a non-starter — for now, at least.

Here’s more from around the Pacific division:

  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders takes a closer look at the trade rumors surrounding Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins, concluding that neither the Warriors nor the Kings are likely to make a move with their stars anytime soon. Regarding the Warriors, Kyler says that the team’s plan for this season is to keep its core together, potentially adding a small complementary piece at some point.
  • Although he has denied a report suggesting he asked the Kings to trade him, Omri Casspi admits he’s somewhat frustrated by his new role – or lack thereof – under head coach Dave Joerger, per Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “I didn’t think I’d go from playing 27 minutes to being out of the rotation,” Casspi said. “It is what it is. I’ve got to be a pro about it. … What goes through my mind is I can help this team win. I might be here today, and I’ve got to stay ready. I might be somewhere else. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.” Casspi was reportedly scheduled to meet with GM Vlade Divac on Monday to discuss his status.
  • The Suns didn’t have massive expectations for Devin Booker when they selected him 13th overall in the 2015 draft, but just a year and a half later, the future of the franchise is tied to the young guard’s development, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

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