Well, that was quick.
After missing a game and a half and one practice, the Sacramento Kings announced today that DeMarcus Cousins has been reinstated to the team. While Cousins has returned to practice, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 22-year-old big man will see significant action Wednesday when the Kings visit Portland, according to his head coach.
“He’s been reinstated, yes,” said Keith Smart following practice today. ”But that doesn’t mean that he’s playing right away. But he’s back around the team and came back today and apologized to the team, to me as well and we’ll just move forward.”
Has the point about playing time been made clear to the Kings’ mercurial center?
“No, we haven’t gone down that line,” Smart said. ”Just right now, the first step is to get back around the team by being reinstated. And then the next step, we’ll go forward as I see fit in how we’re going to move forward with him, getting onto the floor and playing.”
The circumstances surrounding Cousins’ reinstatement appear vague. Smart repeatedly dodged questions about whose decision it was to bring the Kings big man back after what the team classified an indefinite suspension. Neither Smart nor President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie attached their names to the press release sent just minutes before practice concluded.
“We do everything as a group,” Smart said when asked if this was a mutual decision to bring Cousins back so soon.
When the practice court was opened to media today, Cousins was seen working individually with Kings assistant Clifford Ray and a player development coach. The Kings big man spent approximately 20 to 30 minutes with Ray after press was allowed in the gym. However at one point, tempers flared noticeably between the two, as Cousins and Ray paused the workout for a brief, but heated exchange.
The 22-year-old center declined to speak to media following practice.
Cousins was benched in the second half of Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He was subsequently suspended for an indefinite period of time the following day. Reports later surfaced that the 22-year-old big man had fired John Greig, the only agent he’s ever had, and hired Dan Fegan to fill the void.
Fegan is one of the most influential agents in the NBA and his most recent dealings include orchestrating Dwight Howard‘s exodus from Orlando. But to quell any speculation, Cousins told Sam Amick of USA Today at a local area Wal-Mart last night that he’s not seeking a trade.
The Kings front office has clashed with Fegan in the past as well. In 2009, they bypassed drafting Ricky Rubio, one of his many high-profile clients, for Tyreke Evans. Later that season, the Kings would deal another one of Fegan’s players Kevin Martin at the February trade deadline.
So, it appears we are moving past the latest Cousins situation. Once again, talent trumps all and the Kings set yet another dangerous precedence. A profanity-laced and highly-personal attack on head coach Keith Smart got him a one-game suspension.