With pending long-term extension, Cousins needles local media

With pending long-term extension, Cousins needles local media

SACRAMENTO -- What appeared to be a typically mundane night was turned on its head Tuesday night in Sacramento. As the Kings were struggling through another tough home game, the mood was somber in Golden 1 Center. 

The angle wrote itself: “The sky is falling: Kings drop fourth straight as doom and gloom consumes Sacramento.”

And then the weather changed with an 18-point lead erased, a possible contract extension for the team’s franchise player, a win, and a very curious postgame interview.

In case you missed the news, Cousins is in line for a massive contract extension this summer and it appears that he and the Kings front office are on the same page. There is still work to be done, but Cousins is ready to sign on the dotted line for a $207 million contract that will keep him in Sacramento for the next six seasons. 

“This is where I want to be. Hell yeah, I’m good with it,” Cousins told CSNCalifornia.com when asked about the potential deal.

The All-Star center was in a very good mood. His 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining gave the Kings a four-point lead and helped seal a big win over the Pistons. His 24-point, 13-rebound, six-assist night snapped a three-game skid as the Kings kept pace in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff.

In great spirits, Cousins followed an impulse and took the night to a new level. As the talk centered around his long-term future in Sacramento, Cousins snatched a microphone from CSN’s Kayte Christensen and turned the tables with a few choice questions of his own.

The beef between Cousins and local newspaper reporters spilled over into print in December, so he took the opportunity to needle his naysayers. 

“I love Sacramento, it’s where I want to be," Cousins said before asking his first question. "You want me to be here?” he directed at one reporter. 

“Always have,” the reporter responded twice.

Cousins then shifted to another reporter who had engaged in a verbal altercation with Cousins following a game earlier this season.

“Would you like me to remain here?” Cousins said with a smile.

The reporter took the opportunity to make his case against Cousins remaining in Sacramento.

“It’s not my call, but I would say, for me, I would say no,” the reporter responded.

Cousins handed the microphone back to Christensen and with a huge smile and a bit of a chuckle.

“Okay, okay," he said. "Well, guess what? Guess what people? I’m here!”

It wasn’t mean spirited. If anything, it provided some much needed levity to a potentially uncomfortable situation.

All in all, it was a good night for the star big man as his team came away with a huge victory to stem the tide. Top form will again be reqired Friday night when the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Golden 1 Center.

Kings could lose 2017 first-round pick obtained in Cousins trade

Kings could lose 2017 first-round pick obtained in Cousins trade

The highly touted 2017 NBA Draft is four months away and the Sacramento Kings have gone from a team with no stake in the conversation to a franchise with plenty of possibilities. Like everything else in Sacramento, it’s complicated. The Kings could have zero, one or two first round picks in the upcoming draft.

Kings Pick

All the way back on June 30 of 2011, Geoff Petrie dealt a protected first round pick (2012-2017) along with Omri Casspi to the Cleveland Cavaliers for power forward J.J. Hickson. Hickson didn’t even make it through the season with the Kings. After attempting to deal him at the trade deadline and finding no takers, Petrie waived Hickson on March 12, 2012.

The Cavs used the pick as part of a larger package to obtain forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 6, 2014. Chicago has waited patiently to use the pick, but per the original trade, if the selection falls in the Top 10 this season (post lottery), it is not relayed this season and it becomes a protected second round pick. If the pick falls in the between selections 56-60 (mathematically unlikely at this point), the Kings keep the second round pick as well and the original trade is satisfied.

To complicate matters, if the pick falls between 1-10 this season and the Kings retain the selection, the Philadelphia 76ers have the right to swap picks. The pick swap stems from the July 9, 2015 trade that sent Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas, a protected first round selection (now an unprotected 2019 first round selection) and the rights to swap picks in 2016 and 2017 for the rights to Arturas Gudaitis, Luka Mitrovic and a future second round pick. The Sixers currently have the fifth worst record in the NBA.

What does it mean?

If the Kings make the playoffs, the pick is instantly relayed to the Chicago Bulls. If the Kings miss the playoffs, but land 11, 12, 13 or 14 in the draft following the lottery, the Bulls get the pick. If Sacramento lands anywhere in the Top 10 following the lottery, they retain the pick, but the Sixers have the opportunity to swap selections.

Pelicans Pick

On Feb 20, 2017, the Kings traded All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins, along with forward Omri Casspi (again) to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a protected first round selection and the Philadelphia 76ers 2017 second round pick.

The protections are a bit complicated on the Pelicans first round pick. If New Orleans makes the playoffs, the Kings instantly take the pick. If the Pelicans miss the playoffs and go into the lottery, the Kings are safe in 2017, as long as they don’t win the lottery and move into the top three spots.

If the Pelicans move into the top three in 2017 and keep the pick, it becomes a Top 1 protected pick for the next three seasons. In the nearly impossible scenario that the Pelicans draw a top three pick in 2017 and then follow that up with three straight no. 1 overall selections, the Kings receive the Timberwolves 2021 pick.

What does it all mean?

New Orleans currently sports the NBA’s sixth worst record and they trail the Denver Nuggets by 3.5 games for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. If the season were to end today, they would fall in the middle of the lottery. As long as the Pelicans don’t move into the Top 3, Sacramento gets the pick. If they win one of the top three picks, there is a high likelihood that the Kings will receive the selection in 2018.

Instant Replay: Second quarter kills Kings in loss to T'Wolves

Instant Replay: Second quarter kills Kings in loss to T'Wolves

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Adjusting to life without DeMarcus Cousins is proving more difficult than the Kings thought. For the second straight game, Sacramento struggled to score the ball, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves by a final of 102-88 Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

Karl-Anthony Towns continued his strong play. The second-year big is quickly becoming one of the best bigs in the game and at age 21, the sky's the limit. Towns dropped in 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Timberwolves improved to 24-36 on the season.

Andrew Wiggins had a big night as well. He got off to a slow start, but once he started playing the passing lanes it opened up everything for Minnesota. The talented 22-year-old finished the night with 27 points on 10-for-22 shooting and added four steals.

Ricky Rubio chipped in nine points and dished out 11 assists. Nemanja Bjelica added 10 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

Kosta Koufos overpowered the Timberwolves in the post. The Kings starting center scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

Ben McLemore drew the tough assignment of guarding Wiggins and held his own early. But once the high-flying wing got going, McLemore had no answer. On the offensive end, he finished the night with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. Ty Lawson went for 11 points and nine assists, while Tyreke Evans picked it up late, scoring 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Wiggins and Towns put on a show. Give these two a couple of seasons and they might be the best duo in the game.

TURNING POINT:
The Kings looked completely lost in the second quarter and the Timberwolves ran them off the floor. After a competitive first 12 minutes of action, Minnesota outscored Sacramento 40-19 in the quarter to take a 60-44 lead into the intermission. Game over.

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed his third straight game with a sore hamstring. Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson sat again with varying degrees of hamstring issues. Temple is out for another few games with a left hamstring tear and rookie Richardson is out 4-6 weeks with a right hamstring thickness tear, but hopes to return before the season is finished. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings continue their homestand Wednesday when the Brooklyn Nets swing by Golden 1 Center.