DeMarcus Cousins expected to be suspended after altercation with teammate [video]

FanHouse has the details about the altercation that DeMarcus Cousins had with teammate Donte Greene after the Kings’ loss to the Thunder on Saturday night.

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.

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2008 NBA Preview: #22 Sacramento Kings

Offseason Movement: The team traded Ron Artest to the Rockets for forward Donte Greene and a future first round pick. Artest played well for the Kings and rehabbed his image to a certain extent. The Kings essentially traded him for two late first round picks, which isn’t a bad deal. The distraction is gone and the Kings can continue the rebuilding process.
Keep Your Eye On: John Salmons/Francisco Garcia, GF
With Artest in Houston, there are a lot of minutes to be had at small forward. Both players are versatile and can play a little point guard as well. Salmons plays much better in a starting role and is the better slasher, while Garcia is the better shooter and ballhandler. Given his production as a starter, Salmons figures to take over that role, but Garcia will get a lot of minutes off the bench.
The Big Question: Are the Kings good enough to contend for a playoff spot?
Sacramento finished 12 games out of the #8 spot in the West last season and lost Ron Artest. They’re a young team, so collectively they’ll need big progress to overcome that loss of talent and 12 games in the West. This looks like a team that will compete on a nightly basis but will ultimately finish with 30-35 wins in a tough conference.
Outlook: I like what the Kings are doing, but I wonder if giving PG Beno Udrih a big contract (five years, $33 million) was the right thing to do. They must see him as their point guard of the future, but on a PER basis, he was the #30 PG in the league. They are building around Kevin Martin (pictured), and project to have a ton of cap space in the summer of 2010, when they’ll likely look to add a star free agent. In addition to Martin, if another one of their young players (Udrih, Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Donte Green, Shelden Williams) can develop into a star, the Kings will be in business in two or three years.

Check out our NBA Preview page for a look at every team. We’ll be posting three previews per business day, which will take us up to the start of the season on Tuesday, October 28th.

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