From NBA.com staff reports
At 6-foot-11, Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins boasts a repertoire of moves that make him one of the league’s emerging low-post players. Aside from those traditional big man skills, Cousins can handle the ball (just check out the play above), shoot with range, finish with power and make a crafty dish or two, too.
Those talents give him the look of a future franchise player and of someone the Kings weren’t about to let walk away in free agency. According to the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones, who first reported the news, the Kings and Cousins have agreed to a four-year, roughly $62 million extension. Per collective bargaining agreement rules, Cousins, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2010 Draft, and the Kings had until Oct. 31 to reach an agreement on an extension.
The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million, league sources confirmed Thursday night.The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million. The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.
Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, slightly down from the 18.1 points and 11 rebounds in his second season.
Cousins was one of eight players to average at least 17 points and nine rebounds last season. Dwight Howard, Al Horford, David Lee, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love were the others. At 23, Cousins is the youngest in the group, and he and Jefferson are the only two who have not made an All-Star team.
The Kings’ move to lock up Cousins may be seen as somewhat of a risk, given his many off-the-court incidents (he was suspended twice last season alone) throughout his career. But Cousins has apparently received votes of confidence from those who matter most: new owner Vivek Ranadive, new part-owner Shaquille O’Neal and new general manager Pete D’Alessandro. O’Neal, for one, specifically mentioned Cousins several times during his introductory news conference on Tuesday, while Ranadive and D’Alessandro have chimed recently as well, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
D’Alessandro, who has been scouting the EuroBasket tournament in Slovenia, returned to Sacramento this week to join Ranadive in resuming negotiations in earnest Thursday with Cousins’ agents Dan Fegan and Jarrin Akana.
Cousins has averaged 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds while frequently flashing his unique gifts for a player his size, but he has also led or been near the league lead in fouls committed throughout a career marked by defensive struggles. Cousins’ volatility has likewise resulted in multiple suspensions, including a team-imposed ban last December for what the Kings termed unprofessional behavior, which is largely why Sacramento insisted on a four-year deal instead of a full five-year max.
But the consistent praise Cousins has received from Ranadive since his ownership group won the battle with Seattle to keep the franchise in Sacramento had made it widely assumed in league circles that the Kings were prepared to make a long-term commitment to the 23-year-old. Sacramento is now banking on the notion that the security it has extended, as part of the fresh-start feel circulating throughout the entire organization, will lead to a more plugged-in Cousins.
After announcing the addition of future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal as a minority owner and mentor to Cousins earlier this week, Ranadive told USA Today Sports: “I don’t want to say anything premature [about an extension], but I’ve been constant in my support for DeMarcus. I reached out to him when we first closed the deal. He was the first person I reached out to. They’re out there practicing on their own every day and he’s out there leading those practices. He’s out there with the team practicing every single day by themselves. [The players] all came to Sacramento early. I don’t know if that’s ever happened.
“So ‘Dr. O’Neal’ and I are going to have dinner with him on Monday night, and Dr. O’Neal is going to spend a couple of days with him and the team. So I’m very, very pleased with everything that I’m seeing.”
With Cousins in the fold long term and a core that includes guards Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas, rookie Ben McLemore and veteran forwards Luc Mbah a Moute, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson, Sacramento is piecing together a team that may make some noise out West sooner than we think.