DeMarcus Cousins did not fly with the Sacramento Kings for tonight’s game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Coach’s decision, according to the Sacramento Bee, and a strange one at that. On Monday, Cousins was reinstated by no one after serving an indefinite-turned-one-game suspension over the weekend. The suspension, as you may remember, stemmed from a halftime shouting match between Cousins and head coach Keith Smart that left Cousins sitting alone in the locker room for the entire second half of the Clippers game on Friday.
It was at that moment, after multiple season of disobedience and coaching upheaval, that the Kings seemed to take a stand. He was handed an indefinite suspension, a loosely ominous term usually reserved for the harshest of violations. But then three days later the internal authority was internally undermined, with or without Smart’s approval, and we’re left with this. DeMarcus Cousins, not suspended, yet not with the team, in punitive limbo. No one took credit for Cousins’ reinstatement, and it seems that no one will. Because no one in Sacramento seems to want to take a stand with the big fella – his talents too large, his basketball value too great. Because hardly has a malcontent been so vital to a team, present and future.
That Keith Smart, and Keith Smart alone, decided to travel without Cousins may hint at ownership overruling. He’s handled the troubled big man with a gentle hand, handing him the keys to the offense and tolerating his otherwise intolerable behavior. Except this was an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, bend but eventually break. Except the leash broke and someone put it back together to bend some more, and so we’re left with an awkwardly alienated Cousins with little authoritative direction.
This will all eventually sort itself out, Cousins reworking his temperament or not, Keith Smart sticking around or not. But in the meantime we can only shake our heads, as talent is wasted and a franchise mismanaged.