With all of the attention over the last few days focused squarely on the addition of Shaquille O’Neal to the ownership group, Cowbell Kingdom was able to catch up with Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro to talk about the team’s next big pressing matter. The news of a potential extension for DeMarcus Cousins was buried on Monday under a sea of Shaq, but it will be the number one topic of discussion for the team entering training camp.
“I wouldn’t make any prediction on a date,” D’Alessandro said. “I really wouldn’t. We’ve been talking and will continue talking and I look forward to having some good news, but at this point we are still talking.”
Cousins is clearly priority no. 1 for the new regime. They have made a series of moves to provide support for the talented 23-year old center, including a new coaching staff and a new mentor in Shaq.
“When I look at DeMarcus Cousins, I see a young Shaquille O’Neal,” Shaq told media members during Tuesday’s press conference. “He’s very talented, very stubborn in his ways and likes to do things his way.”
The ride has been rocky for Cousins throughout his first three seasons in the league, but he has consistently said that he would like to remain in Sacramento and help rebuild the franchise. The Kings would love to have Cousins locked up to a long-term deal before the Oct. 31 deadline for rookie scale extensions, but D’Alessandro didn’t seemed worried about the negotiations taking away from the positive momentum that is building with the team.
“I don’t look at it that way,” D’Alessandro said when asked if the negotiations might become a distraction. “We are all in this together. DeMarcus is, I am, coach is, the whole team is. I don’t look at it as a [distraction], I look at it like, lets get to the right place. And if we can do that, we’ll be fine.”
D’Alessandro is known around the league as a salary cap expert. While a max extension is what Cousins and his agent Dan Fegan are rumored to be asking for, a max contract will only work if it fits into D’Alessandro’s long-term plan.
With that being said, don’t be shocked when the Kings call another press conference to announce a new five-year, $80 million extension with franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins between now and the Halloween night.