According to the very good Marc Stein of ESPN.com, DeMarcus Cousins will be signing a very large contract extension soon. That Stein cites two sources (both anonymous) is pretty important, because this is an issue between two parties: the Kings' front office and Cousins' management. I'm not sure exactly who else would have info, so Stein's reporting would indicate that both sides confirm something is close. And Stein doesn't strike out on stories like this. So it's time to start getting used to Boogie under a long-term contract.
Five related thoughts:
1. This may not totally be Pete D'Alessandro's decision. Vivek Ranadivé has been publicly building up Cousins since before he hired a GM. Michael Malone also heralded Cousins before D'Alessandro was hired. Something tells me that a candidate who told Vivek and company that Cousins needs to go might not be the GM right now. (That's not to say Vivek wouldn't hire someone who doesn't agree with him, or that he's not open to competing philosophies -- it's that this is a major issue and I don't think many candidates, especially potential first-time GMs, would express that opinion with hopes of getting the job.)
It's pretty clear that Vivek has a keen interest in basketball operations. This is a big basketball decision that Vivek has publicly weighed in on ... repeatedly. So if the deal doesn't work out, I'm not sure it's specifically on D'Alessandro. It seems like an institutional decision to ride with Boogie. (For what it's worth, I think the Tyreke Evans decision was mostly D'Alessandro, and a bigger deal than this extension overall.)
2. There's little chance of a Cousins discount next year anyway. The debate on whether it's worth it to extend players early to keep good feelings flowing is an interesting one, but the other issue -- will you get him cheaper now or later? -- is essentially irrelevant in this case, because someone will offer him the max next season if he's on the market. I won't say that is totally regardless of what happens this season, because ... you know. Stuff happens. But it's a pretty high probability that he'll be in position to get a four-year max from someone next summer. That's not an issue that forces you to extend him now, because you could just match next year. But taken into consideration with the other issues (like his attitude and the image of the franchise) it's worth noting.
3. This is not in any way about Tyreke Evans. The team did not commit to Evans, and he left. Many of us think Evans might still be a very good player. Evans was a better teammate and nicer guy than Cousins, and quite possibly the better player to this point. (Certainly more reliable.) But this isn't about Evans. The positional gulf is not to be dismissed: finding an above-average center is loads more difficult than an above-average two-guard. (Especially considering this team's roster.) Plus, Cousins' ceiling at this point would seem to be higher. It may be more likely that Evans reaches his ceiling than Cousins reaches his, but that's pretty much irrelevant. Again, this deal is not about Evans. It's about the franchise's belief in Cousins, and by proxy its ability to reach Cousins.
4. Cousins has no excuses. If he didn't get an extension, you could make an argument that the uncertainty over his future weighed on him this season and caused him to do x, y and z. Nope. With an extension, the mystery on that is gone. This will also be his third head coach and he has a solidly run franchise behind him. He's been loaded with gobs of royal jelly. His teammates aren't the best in the world, but no one is expecting him to win 50 games. The expectation is to keep his nose clean(er) and produce. If he doesn't, at the end of this season, we'll know.
5. We're in for years of entertainment. I get as frustrated as anyone with Boogie. The suspensions, the ejections, the bad defense: it's annoying. But man, he is great fun when he's playing well. He has a remarkably confident attitude, he's emotive, he's bombastic, he really doesn't give a crap about anything. The attitude comp on him is usually Sheed, but in some ways I do liken him to his new mentor, Shaq. O'Neal was a goofball foremost, a bully second. Boogie has those flipped when things aren't going well. But when they are going well, he's goofy. And that's great! Plus, he has those semi-frequent huge nights where it's just glorious to watch. The 20-15 nights. The less frequent 30-20 nights. No, it's not fun when he's going for eight points on 3-20 shooting. But after the stretch this team has had, I value "entertainment" pretty highly, and Cousins always keeps things interesting.