The Sacramento Kings today announced via press release that they have suspended center DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team". The release was short and to the point.
The cause for this latest suspension (his third different one this season, but first from the team) was apparently a heated verbal altercation between Cousins and Head Coach Keith Smart. We first heard of trouble after halftime, when Cousins was not on the floor or the bench and were told that it was a coach's decision. Kings TV later showed a replay of Cousins and Smart jawing at each other after the first quarter. That arguing apparently carried over into the locker room at the half. Cousins apologized to both the team and the media after the game, but his actions apparently warranted further punishment from the Kings.
As I wrote last night, it's time that Cousins grows up and starts acting like a professional. He is a piece this team is counting on, but when he flounders, so does the team. It's especially discouraging that he's acting this way with Keith Smart, a coach who has done all but hold his hand since taking over the team. It appears that Smart (and the team) have reached their breaking point however.
Hopefully this latest punishment will let the lessons sink in for DeMarcus. He's got all the talent in the world, and he showed towards the second half of last year how good he can be when motivated and focused on the game itself.
UPDATE 1:21 PM: The always reliable Sam Amick reports that according to sources with knowledge of the incident, Cousins used "extensive profanity" in his back-and-forth argument with Smart at halftime.
UPDATE 2:38 PM: Jason Jones spoke with Geoff Petrie, who says the Kings have no intention of dealing with Cousins. Per Petrie:
"It's not something that just showed up yesterday, last year or two years ago or five years ago. But he's our player so we want to work with him to get past this so he be what everyone sees is possible"
UPDATE 4:52 PM: Sam Amick has updated his post with some new information. Namely, the Kings don't deem Cousins as untouchable, but are still unlikely to trade him. Also, Cousins has recently parted ways with his agent, John Grieg.
UPDATE 4:52 PM: Our friends over at Cowbell Kingdom got some words from Keith Smart after practice:
"Like I said, all along I'm trying to create an environment here," Smart told reporters after Saturday practice. "And we all gotta move forward to making sure that we do everything we can to keep that environment in the right direction. And when any player goes beyond that, then there's going to be consequences to that. And I thought last night, it moved in that direction."
"Deeds become important now," said the Kings head coach when asked if Cousins' continued apologies still hold credibility. "It's not so much words. And I think that's where you're trying to get him or any person to get (to understand) the deeds of it. Because everyone will see your deeds and then there will be more believability there than just words you're saying."