Strictly talking about his talent and skill-level as a player in the NBA, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins deserves every penny that he’s getting in his newly signed four-year, $62 million extension. Players with the skills of Cousins aren’t common in this league and any team would be wise to hold on to a player like Cousins solely based on that.
However, there’s more to Cousins than just his abilities, as we all know by now. This is a guy that has had problems with his behavior on the court, with immaturity on and off the court, and with his motivation when it comes to playing. Essentially, Cousins is an über-talented man-child that hasn’t put it all together mentally over his short career.
That’s one of the reasons many people aren’t high on the idea of the Kings extending Cousins. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the most skilled big men in the NBA, but there’s also no doubt that he has shown that he can cause headaches of the same magnitude as the cap-hit he’s going to cause after this season.
The odd thing about the extension, though, is the fact that the Kings elected to not include an early termination option in the deal, something they had the opportunity to do for the third year of the contract. What this basically means is that Sacramento is stuck with Cousins, even if he doesn’t put it all together with the new coaches, new owners and new direction for the Kings.
The obvious retort to that is that the Kings could trade him if he doesn’t work out. However, that’s not exactly true. Call me crazy, but I don’t see another team wanting to fork over $15 million per year for a player that causes more headaches and doesn’t seem fully committed to playing basketball in the NBA, which is the worst-case scenario for Cousins’ career at the moment.
Obviously we are talking about complex things like the development of human emotions and desire here, so it’s nearly impossible to predict how Cousins will grow both mentally and as a player over the next couple of years. Whatever the outcome, though, the Kings are going to have to live with it after giving him this extension.
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