The Kings don’t intend to trade volatile center DeMarcus Cousins this offseason, Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV relays (via Twitter). According to team executive Vlade Divac, the organization intends to hang onto the big man, with Divac saying, “He’s not going to be traded — this year for sure.”
There was a sense within the Kings organization that Divac would be willing to gauge the market for Cousins this summer, having become increasingly frustrated with the mercurial big man, according to an earlier report from Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. In April, Divac wouldn’t directly answer when asked whether the firing of George Karl meant he’s committed to Cousins. “Anything about the players and how we are going to do in the summer,” Divac said, “I don’t want to talk about right now because our focus is to find a new coach.”
Divac’s phrasing about not dealing Cousins is certainly interesting, and it’s unclear if his indication that the center wouldn’t be traded “this year” means the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign or merely the calendar year of 2016. If it was the latter, then that still leaves the door wide open for speculation that Cousins is a candidate to be flipped by next February’s trade deadline. It remains to be seen if new head coach Dave Joerger will be able to reach Cousins and earn his respect, which will certainly be a major determining factor for whether the big man remains in Sacramento, though that is merely my speculation.
Cousins is certainly one of the most talented centers in the NBA, though his disciplinary problems and frequent outbursts often overshadow his immense physical skills. After the ouster of Karl, with whom the center was seemingly in conflict from day one of his coaching tenure, Cousins indicated that he’d prefer to remain in Sacramento. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve grown an attachment to the city, like, the way these people treat me, the love they give out to me, and vice versa,” Cousins said. “I feel like I have an attachment, and it’s something that I do owe to this city. I want to be the person to bring this city back to the glory days. I want to grow myself and this city all together. I want to bring us back to those glory days. So, that’s where I’m at with it. This is like a personal vendetta for me.”
The 25-year-old has two seasons remaining on his current deal. He’s scheduled to earn $16,957,900 next season and $18,063,850 in 2017/18. He appeared in 65 games this past season for the Kings and averaged 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 34.6 minutes per outing.