There was a quiet murmur coming out of Las Vegas that the Sacramento Kings are working towards locking up DeMarcus Cousins with a potential five-year extension. No one knows the exact numbers or even if this deal will come to fruition before the Oct. 31st deadline for contract extensions, but it is clear that the Kings’ new ownership and front office have made Cousins a top priority going forward.
The 22-year-old out of Kentucky has had plenty of ups and downs over his first three seasons in the league. His talent is undeniable, but he creates a lot of work for those around him. He has racked up the suspensions, had run-ins with coaches, players and color commentators and there are still plenty of holes in his overall game.
But there is always hope that the light switch will turn on. That Michael Malone can coach him to his potential. That Pete D’Alessandro can put the pieces around him to help Cousins to succeed. That Vivek Ranadivé can create an environment conducive to winning. And that a second chance with USA Basketball will help him understand what sacrifice and dedication mean for a team.
The Kings have already made it clear that they believe Cousins is the foundation of their rebuild. They have consulted him on moves and showed up to Las Vegas in force to support a player that has the potential to become one of the game’s best big men. The next logical move is to show Cousins a financial commitment and further build the bond between team and player.
So how much is Cousins worth? What is a young, super-talented big man with All-Star and Olympic potential, but with a slightly destructive side going to fetch on the open market?
We asked this question of former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans and the vote came up short of what he actually received. This time around, the Kings hold a certain amount of leverage. Cousins is under contract for next season and then becomes a restricted free agent.
Will the Kings squabble over a few million here or there and risk alienating their most talented player? Will Cousins take slightly less than max money in hopes that the Kings will use the discount to make moves to improve the team? Give us your thoughts.