As the Sacramento Kings prepare for life without DeMarcus Cousins, fans are left picking up the pieces.
“This is kind of like a divorce,” Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “This was a marriage that they tried to make work. They tried, they tried and they tried, and they got to a point where it wasn’t gong to work, and the Sacramento Kings were never going to be happy. They figured, ‘We need to just move in a different direction because this is not going to work.’ It’s been seven years, it hasn’t worked, it’s not going to work. Are you going to pay someone like DeMarcus Cousins $210 million this summer? With the unknown and the way he behaves on the court and the way he curses at fans and the way he treats the media? You can’t do that.”
Cousins, who averaged 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game this season for Sacramento, is one of the best players in basketball. But he’s also one of the most maddening.
“He doesn’t have a filter on him,” Napear said. “He’s not able to garner his emotions and keep them inside his body. He’s not able to take that breath or count to 10. . . . He just can’t harness his emotions. He has not shown the ability to take that deep breath or walk way or prevent catastrophe. It’s always an impulsive outburst of anger and frustration that gets him in trouble.”
Napear believes that Cousins, 26, has a chance to win in New Orleans.
“I’ve said for the last couple of years that I didn’t think the Kings were ever going to win with DeMarcus, but I thought he had a chance to win somewhere else because he has had too much entitlement here,” Napear said “Before he even stepped on the floor, the Kings had . . . (a) huge, huge banner of DeMarcus Cousins. They anointed him as great before he even stepped in. The franchise, in my opinion, made a big mistake in terms of the way they gave him entitlement before he even stepped in as a 19-, 20-year-old kid. It just kept on getting longer and longer with a longer leash. I think he has a chance – because he has a fresh slate – (to have success in New Orleans). Everything is going to start new.”
Perhaps Cousins will benefit from not having to lead in New Orleans. After all, Anthony Davis, who is averaging 27.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, is the Pelicans’ franchise player.
“(Cousins is) now the Robin on that team,” Napear said. “Anthony Davis is the Batman, and I think (Cousins) needs to go to a place where he is 1A and 1B and he’s 1B. So for that reason, I think he has a chance, but I don’t know how that’s going to help him in terms of the emotions that I just described where he doesn’t seem to be able to prevent himself from crossing that line. But I think he’ll do very well in New Orleans.”
Especially off the court. Cousins has never been a problem there.
“Here’s the deal. He really is a good guy,” Napear said. “He’s done immense things for our community here in Sacramento with charities and a lot of things don’t even go publicized because he doesn’t want the publicity. Off the court, he’s a completely different person than on the court. Without being a doctor – and I’m using this just as a figure of speech – (but) it’s like a bi-polar personality where he can be this way and then an hour later he can be (another) way. He sucked the air out of this locker room for the previous six years because the guys just (got) tired of it.”