Kings and their Cousins conundrum

By Nick Avila

Report after report, trade demand after trade demand, coaching change after coaching change, one thing’s for sure when it comes to the Sacramento Kings: there really is never a dull moment.

After a tough loss to the New York Knicks almost two weeks ago, DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes found themselves in hot water after TMZ reported that the two had been involved in a fight at a local nightclub. That news led to the most recent video of Cousins verbally assaulting a Sacramento Bee writer, Andy Furillo, earlier this week.

Cousins and the Bee have never seen eye to eye, mainly due to the Bee’s blame of Cousins for pretty much everything bad that has happened to the Kings in the last five, six years. Cousins has been the face of a struggling franchise since he was drafted in 2010. Since that time, the Kings have gone through five coaches and are now on their sixth. Since Cousins entered the league, the Kings have a .346 winning percentage. Not exactly many positives for the local media to report on, to be fair.

But, it’s their blatant attempts at sabotaging the team with their repetitive “trade Cousins” narratives and their recent rumors of Rudy Gay wanting a trade but never actually asking for it earlier this year that has players on edge. And it was Furillo’s mentioning of Cousins’ brother that pushed Cousins to the edge. I understand mentioning someone’s family member is taking things up a notch, but as a professional athlete, you have to know you’re always in the public’s eye. It comes with the territory.

When I watched the video of Cousins getting in Furillo’s face, I couldn’t do much but shake my head. “It’s Cousins’ emotions getting the best of him” is what I pictured the media writing. But, if you’re unbiased in the situation, you know Cousins has almost no history of off-court issues, his emotions tend to stay leveled when off the hardwood.

But, don’t think that’s me saying Cousins was right in his profanity-filled blowup. No way. You’re a star NBA player and you got yourself into a couple bad situations in less than a year’s time (plus your team’s not winning). If you expect the media to take it easy on you, you’re in for a rude awakening. As a journalist, I don’t see anything wrong with Furillo including Cousins and his brother’s recent mix-up in the story due to it being another club incident. I find the inclusion necessary.

In the past, the low-blows that the Bee has run on Cousins have  been the lashes that hurt the most. Cousins has remained adamant about his love for Sacramento and GM Vlade Divac has been adamant on the Kings’ desire in keeping Cousins. The most recent report was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.

From here, the matter is in the NBA’s hands. But, the Kings and Cousins need to get on the same track and prevent something like this from happening again. With a year and a half left on Cousins’ contract, the rumors are going to swirl during the trade deadline and if Cousins hopes to stay out of the media’s headlights, he’ll need to just focus on his game on the court and stay away from the media and their opinions.


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