The Sacramento Kings new ownership group made their first significant move on Thursday night by reaching an agreement on a four-year, $62 million extension with DeMarcus Cousins, according to CSNBayArea.com.
It is a four-year maximum contract that does not feature a player or team option. Cousins was also eligible to receive a five-year deal but agreed to the Kings offer.
In the 2012-13 season, the 23-year-old averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, which were numbers that were down from the previous year where he posted 18.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
Throughout his three year career in the NBA, Cousins has had several problems due to his immaturity which can be exemplified by his one-game suspended last December for what the organization deemed as unprofessional behavior, and in the 2011-12 season he was sent home by then head coach Paul Westphal from a January home game against the New Orleans Hornets after demanding a trade and as Westphal stated was “unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.”
Although Cousins has displayed immaturity on and off the court, he has proven to be one of the league’s young and emerging stars since being selected out of the University of Kentucky as the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
What the re-signing of Cousins demonstrates is that the new regime of owner Vivek Ranadive, the team’s new front-office pairing of Pete D’Alessandro and Chris Mullin, along with new head coach Mike Malone are all on board with developing and helping Cousins mature to fulfill the potential that he has a player, who is only entering the prime of his career.
There already appears to be guidance from new minority-owner Shaquille O’Neal, who during his press conference on Tuesday stated that he will provide any advice or mentoring he can to Cousins.
“I don’t want to say anything premature [about an extension], but I’ve been constant in my support for DeMarcus. I reached out to him when we first closed the deal. He was the first person I reached out to. They’re out there practicing on their own every day and he’s out there leading those practices. He’s out there with the team practicing every single day by themselves. [The players] all came to Sacramento early. I don’t know if that’s ever happened.”
Sacramento is a youthful team that features young talent that includes Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore, who was selected by the team as the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The Kings are making an effort to provide the proper environment around Cousins and this contract extension only indicates that the franchise wants the big man in their future plans.
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