According to James Ham, the Kings insider for Comcast Sports Net, the superstar big man is expected to sign a deal that will net him north of $200 million. The deal would keep him in a Sacramento Kings uniform through the 2022-2023 season. Nothing can become official however until July when the new league year begins.
This move will have most Kings fans doing backflips, and rightly so as the team will retain its superstar center. A move that makes too much sense despite the skepticism that will almost assuredly come along with it. Acquiring a talent like Cousins is extremely hard to do and the organization must do everything in its power to keep him around. Even when we all get frustrated with some of his antics.
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During Cousins’ time in Sacramento, his surrounding talent has been a revolving door of who’s who of reclamation projects, over the hill role players, and young guys who haven’t been able to figure it out. Expecting him to carry the heap of a mess of a team to the playoffs seems unrealistic.
On one of the latest episodes of Truehoop, ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh’s broke down Boogie’s best teammates by PER (player efficiency rating) for a single season. The list included Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay, and wait for it, Marcus Thornton.
Thomas is a player that has flourished since heading to Boston and one the Kings organization almost assuredly wish they had kept around. In his final season with the Kings, Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists.
Gay, on the other hand, has had his moments but has underwhelmed for the most part during his time next to Cousins. He has never really assumed the Robin role on a consistent basis next Cousins’ Batman.
Oct 18, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
When looking at the Kings’ history in the NBA Draft Lottery, where teams have assembled their stars, especially ones that are not in major markets, it has been bleak. Jimmer Fredette, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis headline that star-studded crew. While I’m holding out hope for Cauley-Stein to evolve and play with more urgency, these players leave a lot to be desired.
Over his seven seasons with the Kings, Cousins has had six, count them six different head coaches. Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Mike Malone, Tyrone Corbin, George Karl, and Dave Joerger have been in charge of developing him. It can’t be easy constantly trying to figure out a new scheme and set of plays, no matter how talented of a player you are. Consistency is key when trying to build a stable franchise.
While I’m unwilling to assign some of the blame to Cousins, who certainly has his share of blame for the lack of success, it’s easy to see why success has not been a part of the recent past for this organization.
With all this said, they are currently in the mix for the 8th seed and it feels like it may finally be the year the Kings make a return trip to the playoffs. It should go a long way towards helping add stability and positivity to the organization.
If Cousins does indeed sign a deal this summer, he must continue to improve how he handles his emotions. He is vital to the success of the team and if he cannot remain focused on the moment the Kings will not reach the levels they should. But he must get some help from the organization and his teammates. Upgrading the roster and stability from the front office and coaching staff will go a long way in creating a culture of winning in Sacramento.