His demands were met and he got what he wanted.
DeMarcus Cousins was rewarded last night with a four-year contract extension worth approximately $60 million. The idea of reaching a deal had been brewing for quite some time and seemed like a foregone conclusion after new ownership made clear that Cousins would be a major part of their plans moving forward.
But with a hefty payday comes a new set of expectations and the time is now for the 23-year-old big man to turn the corner. With a new regime in town that’s fully committed to turning the franchise’s fortunes around, Cousins finally has the structure he’s so desperately needed to help him reach his vast NBA upside.
“We want to create the environment that gives DeMarcus all the support that he needs to reach his full potential,” Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadivé told Cowbell Kingdom recently. “And we have heavy confidence that he will.”
Cousins has had his moments since turning pro. The suspensions, the outbursts and emotional antics have all been within his grasp of control. But there have also been forces much bigger than him working against his favor, such as a disengaged ownership group and front office.
But the dark days in Sacramento appear to be over and Cousins now has plenty of valuable tools at his disposal. He has an ownership group that’s wholeheartedly engaged in spending the money to win both on and off the court. He has a coaching staff that won’t have fickle authority and can hold him accountable for his mistakes and misgivings. He also has a front office that’s committed to putting the right pieces that compliment his strengths and weaknesses.
And let’s not forget that he now has a mentor who’s accomplished the feats he wants to accomplish and has the clout of four championships to stand behind his word.
“I speak his language,” future hall of famer and new Kings minority owner Shaquille O’Neal said on Tuesday. “I know what he’s going through. I know what to tell him to get him back on the right track. You have to experience certain things before you could make comments about it.”
The Kings have done their part to satisfy his idea of trust. They’ve praised him publicly and validated their allegiance by showing him the money. If things don’t work out for Cousins in Sacramento, the Kings can walk away from the 23-year-old big man with a clear conscience. They’ve done and are continuing to do everything they possibly can to help him realize his potential.
“We’re trying to do all that we can to support him and stay out of his way and let him find his way to success,” Kings co-owner Mark Mastrov told Cowbell Kingdom. “And hopefully we’ve done everything that he appreciates and he’s gonna find his way. But I’m a big believer in DeMarcus Cousins. Vivek’s a big believer. Our whole team, our management team, everybody believes in that kid and he’s an amazing talent.”
From this point forward, it’s up to Cousins to hold up his end of the bargain.