NBA AM: Kings Not Trading Cousins?
Kings Are Not Trading Cousins: The Sacramento Kings sent Kings sophomore big man DeMarcus Cousins home, citing repeated trade demands as becoming a distraction to the team.
To be fair, Cousins’ agent swears his client never demanded a trade and that the Kings never contacted him about demands from his client.
However, the Kings released a statement from head coach Paul Westphal that clearly states trade demands were the reason Cousins was sent packing.
“Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction. As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life!
As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.
Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public. This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.
DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight.”
It’s not hard to read between the lines on this one. The Kings are 2-3 on the 2011-2012 NBA season and Cousins is playing roughly 26 minutes per game and wants to be a bigger part of the Kings’ offense.
Cousins is also extremely emotional and very immature in how he handles conflict.
You add those issues to a head coach in Paul Westphal that the team is slowly turning on and you get a volatile reaction in practice.
Westphal has often joked about managing Cousins as kind of managing a toddler, where emotions run over in heated situations but that the talent was there. It was just enduring the growing pains of a player the franchise knew had maturity issues when they drafted him.
“I think it’s time for this solution,” Westphal said to reporters. “There are many, many things that go on behind closed doors in this business that is nobody’s business. Certainly you’ve heard the cliché, ‘the tip of the iceberg.’ This is certainly the tip of the iceberg.”
For the Kings part, they are saying that sending DeMarcus home was a warning, and that they expect him to get with the program.
Kings president Geoff Petrie told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee that the team would not be looking to trade Cousins, saying “My intention is to meet with him,” Petrie said. “This is really about putting away childish things.”
From the ownership side Kings co-owner Joe Maloof told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee, “We leave that stuff to the basketball people, but we’re not trading him.”
Cousins’ agent, John Greig, told the Associated Press he wasn’t told of the Kings’ decision until Westphal’s released statement.
“I have no idea what the Kings are doing,” Greig said. “The fact that I’m just finding out about this announcement now speaks volumes about them.”
The Kings do not play today, but travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies. Several Kings players commented last night that they expected this to be resolved today and for Cousins to be on the team flight.
Ready To Compete: Ask anyone around the Raptors organization and they will tell you the same thing. Ed Davis has a chance to be a special player for the Toronto Raptors.
You wouldn’t assume that with the second-year forward coming off the bench and not being a huge part of the offense, but from the assistant coaches, to the general manager to the head coach to the star players on the roster – everyone sees Ed as a future stud in the NBA.
“I think we’re coming together,” Davis Told HOOPSWORLD. “I think management did a great job with putting the right pieces with this team because we were so young last year. We had a lot of vet guys come in and just to show us the true way to be professional, little things like that; the coaching change. I think everything is going to start to gel together in the next couple months and for next year and the year after that.”
Davis came into his first NBA season with a knee injury. An injury that robbed Davis of training camp last season and had him starting off his career in a hole he never seemed to climb out of.
The NBA’s 161 day lockout allowed Davis to spend more time in the gym this past offseason and he feels like it’s helped him overcome some of last year’s problems.
“Especially with the summer,” Davis said of the change. “Being in the weight room and being healthy. I missed training camp last year, so being able to go through training camp this year helped me a lot.”
The Raptors are like many of the up and coming teams in the NBA, filled with young guys that are a tight nit group off the floor.
Davis believes being healthy and having teammates he can lean on is helping him adjust to the NBA.
“We’re all fighting ourselves,” explained Davis. “Fighting for playing time. Fighting for – you’re always trying to outwork your opposition and what not, but at the same we’re still going to joke around because we still go out to dinner. Still have fun when we’re on the court. We’re fighting against each other but off the court we’re like brothers. It’s just a great a thing.”
The Raptors do not have a lot of new faces on the roster, but have an entirely different coaching staff anchored by new head coach Dwane Casey. Case is more of a hands-on coach and the suits Davis just fine.
“Today me and Solo were working out, coach Casey came out, he rode over in a taxi before the first bus,” revealed Davis. “He worked us out before the game. You don’t see a lot of head coaches doing that in the NBA. You can tell he’s passionate about what he does and he’s not just doing it just to do it. He really wants us to succeed and do well and it shows.”
“One thing that I learned about coach, he’s like a no [B-S] type guy,” said David. “He wants you to go hard at what you do and take it seriously. You do that with the right approach, you’re going to be successful.”
Throughout the NBA draft process roughly 20 months ago, Davis proclaimed that his game translated better to the NBA than it did in college.
Davis understands that fans may not see his contributions on the floor just yet, but he says part of that is the role the team wants him to play.
“I’m not going to score as much right now as I did in college,” explained Davis. “You’ve got to try and get scores with DeMar, Dre, Jose, all those guys, but at practice, you can tell I can do more things on the floor, but eventually you’ll see me start to improve in the future.”
“I have a lot of personal goals and lot of team goals and hopefully in the future I can reach those,” said Davis. “I want to be the best like everyone. You should want to be the best at whatever you do. Your job, you want to be the best at what you do. I want to be the best at what I do.”
The Raptors are much improved on both ends of the floor under Dwane Casey, but are they a playoff team? That’s the burning question.
“I think we can be real good,” Davis said confidently. “I think Dre is a top three scoring big man in the NBA. You’ve got DeMar who is improving. You’ve got Jose who is an underrated – a very underrated – point guard. We’ve just got a lot pieces that bring this team together.”
“We’re going to do whatever it takes,” explained Davis of how far his team is willing to go.
“I want to make the playoffs,” proclaimed Davis.
“If coach puts me on the floor for ten minutes,” explained Davis. “I’ve got to play my hardest ten minutes to help the team produce, whatever that might be. Rebounding, scoring, blocking shots. He puts me on the floor 20 minutes, I got to do that. So it’s just getting all the way out there, like you said, if you’re playing five minutes or if you’re playing forty minutes. You’ve just go to, we’re a team, and everyone knows their role, we’ve just go to play it.”
It’s easy to say ‘I want to make the playoffs’ but does everyone in the locker room want the same things?
“Everyone wants to win,” explained Davis. “Especially the older guys because they’re sort of at the end of their career so they want to win. Everyone knows when you win, it helps everyone out with whatever it might be. If it’s contracts, if it’s say Dre trying to make the All-Star, it’s easier to make the All-Star when you’re on a winning team than when you’re on a losing team.”
The Raptors won’t be winning the Eastern Conference this year, but if the team can stay healthy and continue to add talent – a recurring them around the franchise – being the eighth seed in the East isn’t a stretch. There is clearly enough talent and motivation to get there.
Who’d Have Thunk It: If you had Magic forward Ryan Anderson leading the Orlando Magic in scoring five games into the season, raise your hand.
How about having “Rhino” in the top ten in scoring?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The fact is Anderson is on a tear that even he doesn’t understand, but so far the 2011-2012 season has been good to Anderson and to the 4-1 Magic.
“I just came in with the mentality just to come in and take open shots,” explained Anderson. “Come in to work hard and do what I can do for this team. I’m getting a lot of open shots and open looks and fighting for offensive rebounds and stuff.”
“It hasn’t really been my mentality to come in and lead the team in scoring. I’m just trying to do my part and contribute and come out with energy.”
Anderson is one of the most unassuming players in the Magic locker room, so to see him post a 20 point per game average, while shooting 48.6% from the field, 46.7% from NBA three and 90% from the foul line is a little unexpected, if not surprising.
“I’m not surprised. I’ve played basketball for a long time,” explained Anderson. “I’ve put up numbers in college and stuff, but it’s not about numbers, it’s not about looking at the box score after games. I’m just happy that we won and got the crowd excited and got into it and came back and showed resilience, so at the end of the day it’s really cool, obviously it’s good when you can come out and contribute but it’s more important that we won.”
Anderson is taking the new found hype in stride, understanding that things can and often do turn in the NBA very quickly.
“It’s going to be a tough season. We’re going to have a lot of back-to-backs,” explained Anderson. “We’re going to have a lot of four games in five nights like we’re having. Every game’s going to be, we’re going to push it to have to keep playing the entire game and playing hard.”
Anderson also understands that scoring the ball is fun and the fans enjoy it, but that for him to stay on the floor he has to improve on the defensive end.
“They definitely stress that with me a lot,” Anderson said of his coaches. “For me, I know I can get a lot better on the defensive end. The thing is, night in and night out these are NBA players. They’re going to score. I just need to do as much as I can and just come out on the defensive end and focus on what I have to do to get stops and understand that there are guys like Dirk Nowitzki that no one in the world can guard, so just do my part and just get better.”
Anderson currently leads all NBA players with the most three-point shots attempted and made , which bodes well for Anderson is he can keep up this pace – the NBA All-Star and the three-point shootout is in his backyard. There are worse things than to be peaking as a shooter in a contract year when All-Star is in your market.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNBA, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are two NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram at 11am. Bill’s chats do fill up fast so getting in early is always wise. HOOPSWORLD editor Jason Fleming rounds out the day with his weekly NBA chat at 8pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats