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NBA AM: Cousins Ready To Lead Kings
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On July 26, 2013 @ 10:06 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
This season will mark the start of a new era for the Sacramento Kings. Gone are the questions of the past over what city they will be representing, as is the previous ownership, management group and coaching staff.
Changeover has been aplenty in Sacramento, but young, talented and sometimes explosive center DeMarcus Cousins remains one of the core pieces of the team. Cousins recently participated in Team USA’s mini-camp in Las Vegas, and during that time he voiced his excitement over the team’s new direction.
“We got a chance,” Cousins said to HOOPSWORLD. “We’re moving in the right direction. I’m excited, I’m ready to get going.”
Cousins, who is going into his fourth season as a pro, will be playing for his third head coach in Mike Malone this upcoming season. Cousins went to Las Vegas early in order to see Malone in action with Sacramento’s summer league team.
“[He’s a] cool dude,” Cousins said of Malone. “[He’s] honest, upfront. That’s what we need. I’m excited with where Sacramento is going.”
The Kings also did some shuffling of their roster this offseason, letting Tyreke Evans go in a sign-and-trade deal to the New Orleans Pelicans while receiving Greivis Vasquez in return. They also re-signed power forward Carl Landry, who played with Cousins and the Kings during his rookie season in 2010-11.
“With Vasquez, he’s one of the underrated players in this league,” Cousins said. “One of the top point guards in the league, I’m excited to play with him. Carl, with his leadership and what he brings to the game, he’s a great locker room presence. We actually played together before. I’m really excited to have him back.”
This is a big season for Cousins, whose talent level is undeniable but is often overshadowed by questions about his temper and whether he is coachable. Not only have the Kings improved their roster, which along with new ownership and management has created a new sense of hope, Cousins is also eligible for an extension.
According to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, Cousins’ agent Dan Fegan is set to meet with the Kings about a potential contract extension. The two sides have until October 31 to try and work out an agreement, otherwise Cousins will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Kings will have the right to match any offer he receives as long as they issue the qualifying offer.
Reports have indicated that Cousins is looking for a max extension. Cousins’ college teammate, and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, John Wall is nearing a five-year, $80 million extension with the Washington Wizards – an extension also negotiated by Fegan. That’s likely a good starting point for the Kings if they have the desire to avoid restricted free agency with Cousins and lock him up long-term.
While Cousins undoubtedly wants the security and benefits that come with a max contract, he only has one primary focus for this upcoming season.
“Of course I would love to be an All-Star, but I want to lead my team to the playoffs,” Cousins said. “That’s my goal right now.
“[The team’s new stability] is a big thing right there. That’s something that was bothering the team for a long time. I’m glad we can finally get past that. Now it’s time to move forward. That’s one excuse we can’t use anymore.”
Forman, Thibodeau Try To Clear The Air: Earlier this offseason, the decision was made that Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s top assistant, Ron Adams, would not be retained through next season. Immediately after, rumors surfaced that the relationship between Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman, who made the call to let go of Adams, was rocky at best.
“We want to thank Ron for what he’s brought and wish him the best of luck in the future,” Forman said at the time of Adams’ departure. “We make tens if not hundreds of decisions every year, from free agency to trades to the draft to different personnel within the organization. When we make a decision like this, it does not serve anybody well to go into detail. The decision was made by me because I felt it was in the best for the Bulls moving forward.
“Tom an I talked about it. Tom and I communicate on a daily basis. There are times where I may make decisions that Tom doesn’t totally agree with. There may be times where Tom makes decisions that I don’t totally agree with. It’s like that in any business. I’ve got to make decisions that I feel are best for the Bulls. Once a decision is made, we unite and move forward.”
To their credit, if there was any conflict between Thibodeau and Forman, the two did a good job of hiding it at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The two regularly took in games together and would meet up along with other members of the Bulls coaching staff and front office afterwards to discuss the contest.
Along with spending extensive time together, they also went on the record to assure everyone that their relationship is just fine.
“People are going to read into things the way they want to,” Thibodeau said to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell. “We’re fine. We’re both thinking about next season and all we can do to win.”
“We’re in constant communication,” Forman reiterated. “We have a high level of communication and I think a high level of trust and we can continue to work together to try and make this team the best that it can be. Our working relationship has been good and continues to be good and we continue to communicate on the things we feel we need to do in order to continue to improve.”
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