Kings rookie forward DeMarcus Cousins was removed from team plane bound for Phoenix after an altercation with teammate Donte Greene on Saturday night, according to two sources close to the organization.
The incident, which was first reported by FanHouse, immediately followed a loss to Oklahoma City. Cousins, who had overcome early-season struggles of the performance and personality variety recently, is expected to be suspended for at least one game.
According to the sources, Cousins (whose postgame interview can be seen here) was furious at the last play in which Tyreke Evans missed a three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation that would have won the game. Cousins, who had been calling for the ball in the post in the final possession, watched angrily as Greene in-bounded the ball to Evans for the final shot.
After the buzzer, Cousins let his opinion be known to Greene as he blew by him in the tunnel leading into the locker room. According to the sources, Greene and Cousins began exchanging words inside the locker room. The situation then escalated when Cousins accused Greene of being too “scared” of making what Cousins thought was the right play and with both players taking swings at each other before they were separated.
Here’s the play in question. Watch as Green inbounds the ball to Evans instead of Cousins, and then watch Cousins’ reaction after the game ends.
FanHouse looks at the bigger picture:
There is certainly a bigger picture to consider for the Kings, though, as their volatile 20-year-old who was taken fifth overall in the June draft clearly has no plans to keep quiet about what ails the team. The situation has become nothing short of a power struggle between the rookie and the reigning Rookie of the Year, with Cousins’ improved play of late giving him the gumption to question the way in which Evans is so often given carte blanche control of scenarios such as these.
This is not how the Kings wanted this to go, but when a team is 13-38, the frustration is going to pile up. Sacramento was hoping that Evans and Cousins would make a great 1-2 punch, and they still may, but clearly Cousins isn’t afraid to vent his frustration when he isn’t being utilized in late-game situations.
One thing I noticed about the video is that Cousins didn’t react negatively until the play was over. He didn’t snap his hand down in frustration (like Kobe does ALL THE TIME) when Greene didn’t pass him the ball and he fought for the rebound until the buzzer sounded.
In the game, Cousins was 5-of-14 for 14 points, while Evans was 11-for-22 with 30 points, so this may not be the battle that Cousins needs to fight. Evans was 0-for-2 from long range before he missed the potential game winner, so maybe he should have instead taken the ball into the paint to try to tie the game up at home.
Over the last 10 games, Cousins is averaging 18.1 points and 9.8 rebounds, and is shooting 48% from the field, so he has it in him to be great. But, fair or not, with his reputation he’s under a microscope and he can’t be getting into physical altercations with teammates after a loss. He needs to channel that frustration into getting better — if he does, he could become one of the all-time greats. He’s that good.
Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.
We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.
Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley
Tiger Woods gets around.
We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.
LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.
Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.
You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.
The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »
“It has to be a one-time thing,” an animated co-owner Joe Maloof said late Friday. “Believe me, Tyreke has been scolded by everyone. But we have to put this behind us; we have to move on.”
And how to do that? Change. Philosophically and pragmatically, the approach to the coaching, nurturing and packaging of Tyreke has to be revised.
No more sacred cows or separation. Evans isn’t Chris Webber, and he certainly isn’t Charles Barkley. He hasn’t earned superstar treatment yet. He isn’t even a winner yet. While he obliged with impressive individual stats during the 20-5-5 ticket campaign, the Kings slumped to 7-23 and dropped 11 of their final 12 games.
Yet almost from the moment Evans emerged as a major talent, the Kings altered the rules. They handed him the keys to the Mercedes. There was one set of guidelines for the prized rookie and another set for everyone else – a development that caused resentment in the locker room and is among the reasons Kevin Martin, Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni welcomed trades.
Evans’ personal trainer, for instance, enjoys unique access before and after games. A practice was canceled so Evans could fly to Las Vegas and meet President Barack Obama. Westphal routinely jumped Hawes, Donté Greene, Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi and other young Kings for mistakes yet blatantly looked the other way when Evans’ game became linear – times he dominated the ball or ignored wide-open teammates.
And now, here comes 19-year-old DeMarcus Cousins, oozing ability, personality, and immaturity.
Someone has to become the adult. Like, soon. With players entering the league at an increasingly young age, there is a finite amount of time to influence careers; at some point, the kids stop listening.
Voisin is right to be outraged. Evans could have killed someone with his antics that day.