Dysfunction reigns supreme in Sacramento

Sacramento_Kings_DeMarcus_Cousins_Head_Scratcher

The tweet heard round the world…

Cousins-Tweet

DeMarcus Cousins’ use of the emoji is otherworldly.  It’s not even cryptic.  It may be the best tweet of all time.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, George Karl has been conspiring to trade his 24-year-old All-Star center.  He has been rallying teammates and front office personnel and planning some sort of mutiny on the high seas.  And the tweet above is Cousins’ response.

Where do the Kings go from here?  Their franchise cornerstone is calling his head coach a snake in the grass.  The same head coach that the Kings inked to a deal just four months ago.  The same head coach that fans begged ownership to hire.

The man who is taxed with fending off the internal attack hasn’t even taken sailing school let alone captained a ship.  Vlade Divac is being tested.  He’s being tested by one man he didn’t draft and another that he didn’t hire.

Now what is real and what isn’t?  That’s a complicated question.  Does Karl have concerns about Cousins?  Absolutely.  Has Cousins been leery of Karl since the start?  Yes indeed.  But nothing that has come to light in the last 24 hours wasn’t already known by both parties.  This is a revelation for fans and a hot button topic for the media.  There is dysfunction in Kingsland, but that is almost always the case.

The Kings have tightened up their internal communications.  They have plugged all the leaks, but you can’t stop people on the outside from pushing an agenda forward.

Now the Kings’ dirty laundry is all over the internet.  And of course, everything you read on the internet is 100 percent true.

Cousins has a bit of an issue.  He is under contract until his 27th birthday and that is a long time from now.  The Kings don’t have to hurry to do anything.  The draft is a fake a milestone for trades.  So is the start of training camp and the February trade deadline.

The Kings will make a deal for Cousins if it helps their team.  They aren’t giving away a star in the making who is about to enter his prime because he has an advanced understanding of tiny pictures on his phone.  And they aren’t giving him away because a story has been posted on a blog.

Cousins actually likes Sacramento, despite the franchise he plays for being off its rocker most of the time.  He wants to win and his people want stability.  The Kings haven’t been able to provide either over the last five years.

He hasn’t actually gone public with a trade demand, although there are reports surfacing that he has told the Kings he would like to move on.

Is this the way you want to run your business?  Absolutely not.  But this is Karl in a nutshell.  And this is Cousins in a nutshell.  Be it in Sacramento or some other NBA city, these two will always function in their own dysfunction.  The question is whether they can function in their own dysfunction together.

Divac will hold the course until someone bowls him over with an offer for his best player, or the Kings start improving and all of this white noise goes away.  There is no panic button.  The Lakers still don’t have the assets to acquire Cousins.  Neither do the Celtics or 80 percent of the remaining teams in the NBA.  Cousins is an elite player.  A top 10 player in the league and you only trade those players if you are getting a tremendous amount in return.

Karl is in a similar situation.  He needs the Kings.  A firing at this point would spell the end of his illustrious career.  He would leave the game with an ugly moniker of a conniving coach that lost a power play against a star player.

The full court press is on.  Teams want Cousins and they know that the draft is the easiest time to make a major move.  Buttons are being pressed in an attempt to expedite his departure from Sacramento.  This is a twisted game, but nothing new.

This may be the beginning of the end of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento, but we’ve been here a handful of times before.  Cousins may find a new home in the next few days, but he won’t come cheap.  He may also play the next 12 years in a Kings uniform and retire a lifer.  Welcome to draft season.  Welcome to the DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl era.  Welcome to Sacramento, the home of dysfunction.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".