Following up on his story on Shaquille O'Neal joining the Kings' ownership group, Sam Amick of USA Today asked owner Vivek Ranadive about whether the team will lock up DeMarcus Cousins with a contract extension before next month's deadline.
"I don't want to say anything premature," Ranadive said. "But I've been constant in my support for DeMarcus."
While Ranadive was noncommital, ESPN.com's Marc Stein hears from sources that the Kings and Cousins are on track to reach an extension agreement in the coming weeks. A deal could even be finalized before the Kings open camp, according to Stein.
Cousins, 23, is coming off a season in which ne nearly averaged a double-double, with 17.1 PPG and 9.9 RPG, to go along with a 20.2 PER. Stein indicates that the mercurial big man is said to be seeking a five-year max contract, similar to the one John Wall inked with the Wizards. Such a deal would make Cousins the Kings' designated franchise player, though he almost certainly won't qualify for the Derrick Rose Rule max, which I discussed in relation to Paul George earlier today.
It's unclear whether the Kings are willing to give Cousins that fifth year or to go as high as the max, but Stein writes that the club is determined to get something done as soon as possible so that Cousins' contract situation doesn't become a distraction. Additionally, as Amick notes, O'Neal hopes to take the Kentucky product under his wing as part of his involvement with the Kings.
"You hear people say all the time that he's probably the most talented big man in the league, so now if you've got that behind your name, then everything else must follow," O'Neal said. "I'm going to teach him a few things to add to his game."
Assuming Cousins and George officially complete their deals in the near future, they'll become the third and fourth players to sign rookie-scale extensions this offseason. Wall and Larry Sanders have also agreed to new long-term deals.