It didn’t take the Sacramento Kings long to react to the latest blow-up by DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have indefinitely suspended the third-year big-man out of Kentucky for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team” following last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The decision to sit Cousins was mutually agreed to by both head coach Keith Smart and President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Smart said the team would revisit the possibility of bringing back the 22-year-old “after a couple of days or so.”
“Like I said, all along I’m trying to create an environment here,” Smart told reporters after Saturday practice. ”And we all gotta move forward to making sure that we do everything we can to keep that environment in the right direction. And when any player goes beyond that, then there’s going to be consequences to that. And I thought last night, it moved in that direction.”
Smart met with Cousins this morning to inform of him of the team’s decision. The Kings head coach chose not to go into detail of how the Kings’ starting center took the news.
“He just listened,” Smart said of the meeting with his mercurial young big man. ”But I won’t go into reaction and body language and all that. We made a decision, made a call. And now we gotta get this group of guys (ready) against a pretty good basketball team and some good players at different positions.”
The suspension reportedly stems from a heated verbal exchange between Cousins and Smart during halftime of Friday’s game in L.A. After intermission, the Kings starting center was noticeably absent from the lineup and it was later learned that he was told to watch the rest of the game from the locker room. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Cousins “used extensive profanity while sharing his latest frustrations”. Following practice today, Smart told media that the confrontation between he and his young big man wasn’t physical.
After last night’s game, Cousins told members of the media that he apologized to teammates for his latest episode.
“What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room,” Cousins said. “But I was wrong. I was wrong. I’m a player that definitely wants to win every night, and I’m an emotional player. That’s never going to change.
“But I shouldn’t have responded back,” he added. ”Something was said, and I just should have stayed quiet. Is it a humbling thing? Yeah, I will say that. I mean, I messed up and I apologize to my teammates for responding the way I did, and I’ll move on from it.”
Clearly the Kings felt his apology was not enough this time around. And it appears that his behavior and actions are beginning to wear thin.
“Deeds become important now,” said the Kings head coach when asked if Cousins’ continued apologies still hold credibility. “It’s not so much words. And I think that’s where you’re trying to get him or any person to get (to understand) the deeds of it. Because everyone will see your deeds and then there will be more believability there than just words you’re saying.”
This is the third suspension for Cousins this season. The NBA suspended him for two games in November for a verbal confrontation with San Antonio Spurs commentator Sean Elliott. The second suspension came Dec. 12, after Cousins hit O.J. Mayo of the Dallas Mavericks below the belt. The league penalized him for one game following that incident.
This, however, is the first suspension handed to Cousins by the Kings this season.