DeMarcus Cousins suspended indefinitely
by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The Sacramento Kings suspended center DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely “for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team,” Kings GM Geoff Petrie announced a statement released Saturday.
The third-year big man had a verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart during halftime of the Kings’ loss at the Clippers on Friday and was left in the locker room for the entire second half as a result. Two people with knowledge of the incident told USA TODAY Sports that nothing of a physical nature occurred between Cousins and his coach and that the yelling went back and forth between both men. Cousins, according to one of the people, used extensive profanity while sharing his latest frustrations. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
While the loss to the Clippers was the Kings’ sixth in their last seven games, the situation with Cousins goes well beyond the team’s on-court struggles. His battles with former coach Paul Westphal as a rookie eventually led to his firing seven games into last season, and this marks the third time Cousins has been disciplined this season.
A postgame discussion with San Antonio Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott on Nov. 9 led to a two-game suspension from the NBA after he confronted the former player about statements made during the telecast. On Dec. 11, he was suspended one game by the NBA for hitting Dallas’ OJ Mayo in the groin in the Kings’ game against the Mavericks on Dec. 10. The fact that the latest incident involved Smart is significant, though, as no one has been a bigger backer than the coach who took over for Westphal and had forged a far better relationship with Cousins than his predecessor.
Cousins apologized for the incident with Cousins after the Clippers game.
“I messed up,” he said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “I’m apologizing to all my teammates for it, for responding the way I did, and we’ll move on from it…I grow from all of my mistakes.”
Cousins is a gifted big man, but has had attitude issues since joining the Kings … [For more on Kings suspend DeMarcus Cousins for 'unprofessional behavior', click here.]