Kings Go All-In With DeMarcus Cousins

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HANG TIME WEST –
And so it turns out the last three seasons of DeMarcus Cousins vs. Himself, an epic showdown without a winner, was nothing more than a warmup. Spending the No. 5 pick in the 2010 Draft on Cousins was a pocket-change investment for the Kings.

The real drama begins now, with news the Kings and Cousins have agreed to a four-year, $62-million extension, a deal first reported by the Sacramento Bee. This is going to be a great ride.

If Cousins, the team’s mercurial center, finally learns how to get out of his own way, the new management team headed by owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Pete D’Alessandro has made a move of foresight that will save millions compared to what Cousins could have commanded as a restricted free agent next summer. They will have secured one of the better talents among big men — though not the most-talented big in the game, not even close — and the franchise will take a giant step forward. They will have cornered the futures market.

If this turns out to be more of the same with Cousins, DMC on a loop, the crater will be much larger than anything seen before in Sacramento. The Kings are on the hook for a lot more money now. They’re reducing the chance to offload Cousins, if Cousins remains Cousins. There is no such thing as a low-risk investment anymore.

In what should be the greatest concern for the Kings, this signing was more about emotion than basketball tangibles. Ranadive drove this with a very public commitment to Cousins before the GM, the guy with the basketball background, had been hired. The outcome will be determined by Cousins’ maturity and whether he can find the stability necessary to reach his potential and better get along with teammates.

With the opportunity to spend a season evaluating Cousins in a fresh environment and the advantage of him being a restricted free agent in July 2014, management instead moved now on the logic that, “Things will be different now. Just because.” The Kings have pledged eternal love. How could Cousins possibly not reciprocate in kind?

For months, every Ranadive statement regarding Cousins has included some version of how much the team believes in him, how Cousins was the first player Ranadive called after the sale of the Kings, and how Cousins is the future of the organization. Management’s vision is that DMC will rise to the occasion because he feels the warmth (though the previous administration made the same embrace).

They see no risk in $62 million over four years.

“I don’t see it that way,” Ranadive said a few days ago. “In some ways every decision you make is a risk. There are risks in games. Somebody could get hurt. Anything could happen. This is a young man of amazing talent. Few big men have that kind of talent. He’s healthy. He’s energized right now. He’s a very smart man. I’m excited.”

9 Comments

  1. Joem says:

    Great player, great shooter, great rebounder and great troublemaker…

    We’ll see how he respond to the 15M a year pay…

  2. 'Fan man says:

    He can score and rebound, and Defend? He is a terrible defender!!!

  3. Rafael says:

    Let’s get it Big Cuz!

  4. dean says:

    With the latter of today’s big men getting older, and injured, he has great potential to be THE BEST center in the league. He can score, he can rebound, and he can defend. Now with Shaq coming to town I think the two of them will have a good relationship and Cousins will reach a new level of professionalism, which to me is the only flaw of his.

  5. Ned says:

    In Today’s bargaining agreement, you can’t spent one-fourth of your team’s salary on a single player and expect to build a late-round team. You just can’t unless he’s perhaps a top-five player or so and some of your best players are first or second years players making only a couple million each. I don’t think any other teams would have paid more than $12M for this guy — keep in mind Chris Kaman, admittedly not as good, is playing for barely $1M, and San Antonio only got as good as it did by Tim Duncan agreeing to play for far less than he’s probably worth, along with another Spur. This type of thinking only works for a few teams in perceived desirable cities with almost-championship cores that can attract young-thirty-something players with a last-chance at a ring. In other words, Lakers, Heat, Thunder, Spurs, Brooklyn and the Clippers (who got Antwan Jamison this way) can count on filling holes this way. Even though its implementation speed screwed up a lot of teams, many aspects of the CBA will make a big difference. But they can’t get a really good, 30-something player to Detroit or Toronto no matter what else such teams have. This is a big mistake, and I can’t believe how many stupid General Managers there are out there doing stuff like this. Even the Thunder screwed up by giving Ibaka $12M last year, when I’m betting he would have played for $8M if he knew the other $4M would help them keep Harding. Frankly, the big money should really go to people like Mitch Kupchak, who will rebuilt his team in a single year (and even this one will not be so bad).

  6. Michael McBride says:

    HOW THE HELL DID TYREKE NOT GET AN EXTENSION AS WELL!!

    • Danny from England says:

      Because Tyreke was going to get $11-12 Million from the Pelicans, and the Kings valued ‘Reke at about $8 Million. They weren’t willing to over pay, and he wasn’t willing to leave that much money on the table.

  7. J says:

    very very very smart move by the kings

  8. SAC..Fan says:

    Love it!! Cousins is a very talented big who is a rebounding machine and good free throw shooter. Those only come around every once in a great while.