CHARLOTTE NC - FEBRUARY 25: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings walks down the court against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 25 2011 in Charlotte North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The single facet of Paul Westphal's suspension of DeMarcus Cousins I am having most trouble accepting is that exclamation mark in the first paragraph of the press release announcing the decision. I'm not joking: I cannot abide bullsh-t cuteness in a statement that is bound to anger, alienate and confuse fans.
The second facet of Westphal's suspension that is really bothering me is that Westphal determined it was in the best interest of the Sacramento Kings franchise to go public with the depths of his despair about Cousins. For a coach who has in the past preached the value of keeping team matters in-house -- we all remember the Spencer Hawes suspension, don't we? -- Westphal sure revealed a lot on Sunday night.
1. He gave the specific reason for the suspension, citing Cousins' purported trade demands, which have been denied by Cousins' agent. This is bizarre on two levels: no one in the NBA ever gets suspended for a trade demand and teams never show their hand when it comes to trade requests, talks or whatever. Separate from the suspension and supposing Westphal isn't exaggerating or misleading for effect, what's the benefit of disclosing that one of the two most valuable prospects on the roster wants out? The only benefit is that it makes the player look ridiculous. So, uh, congrats on that, Westy.
2. He put the onus on fixing the relationship on Cousins. Before and after the game, Westphal was quoted as saying that whether Cousins travels with the team to Memphis on Monday depends on Cousins, which apparently means that Westphal needs Cousins to buy him chocolates or something. It's like Cousins suspended himself, right? This further serves to make Cousins appear to the outside world as childish -- all he needs to do to get back on the court is to swallow his pride, right? -- which, again, benefits the team in no way other than to make Cousins look ridiculous to the outside world.
3. He built an invisible case against Cousins. The only alleged bad actions Westphal actually detailed were the two trade "demands" -- one on December 24 (what?!) and one Saturday night. But before the game, Westphal told the media that he had revealed or we, the observers, had only seen "the tip of the iceberg." Again: what purpose does this serve other than to make the player, Cousins, look ridiculous? The trade demands have been explained and/or denied as heat of the moment responses. How absurd is it to tell fans you had to suspend the kid for that, and later claim that there are more atrocities that the team won't reveal? I'm just one fan, but I don't buy that Cousins made a legit, serious trade demand to Westphal's face. Westphal has given us nothing else to chew on but the vague "tip of the iceberg" comment. How am I supposed to feel about this, given my inclination toward disbelief on the trade demand claim?
4. He threw Cousins completely under the bus. That statement ... I mean, I have never seen a team explain a one-game suspension so loquaciously. We got lectured on the foolishness of positive hope, the role of coaches in basketball. We learned that Cousins isn't just a bad dude -- he has "continually, aggressively, let it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace" the direction of the team. If you're a coach just trying to let the world know that the player who has been pegged as "immature" is being suspended for being immature, you know what you put in the statement?
Head coach Paul Westphal has suspended DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team, he announced Sunday. Cousins will not play in the Kings' home game on Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets.--30--
If you want to create a scene, make an example out of a 21-year-old and distract everyone from the fact that 24 hours ago your starting point guard told the world that no one knows what they are supposed to be doing on the court, then you write what Westphal did.
This is some real Wizard of Oz s--t, y'all.