(CBS 13)- DeMarcus Cousins’ final few seasons with the Kings were marred by constant speculation over whether the big man was happy with the state of the organization. Eventually, the relationship ended with a trade to the New Orleans Pelicans.
That trade happened during All-Star weekend while Cousins was in New Orleans for the All-Star Game, and he spoke to former teammate Matt Barnes and co-host Stephen Jackson on the All The Smoke podcast about the aftermath of the move. For Cousins, he was left feeling put out by the Kings for the way the organization handled the situation.
“I wanted to finish my career there [Sacramento]. At the same time, the way it went down, at the end of the day, we all know it’s a business,” said Cousins. “But, as much as I put into that city, I just felt that I deserved a little more.”
Jackson followed up by asking Cousins, “So that wasn’t what you wanted?” in reference to the trade. “No, not at all,” responded Cousins. “And, we [the Kings] were making the playoffs that year. For a fact.”
At the time of the trade to the Pelicans, the Kings were only a game and a half out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, trailing the Denver Nuggets. Cousins believes that with the way the schedule was set up for the team in the second half of the 2016-17 season, the Kings would have snagged that eighth seed, setting up a first-round series with the Golden State Warriors. His theory is that is why the Kings made the trade when they did, because it would have been more difficult to justify after a playoff appearance.
“We were making the playoffs. And I believe that’s why they did the trade because it would have been harder to do it (if we made the playoffs),” continued Cousins. “We were a half-game out with an easy schedule at the end. I still remember that.”
Cousins went on to have a strong second half in New Orleans, averaging 24 points 12 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game over the final 17 games. That continued into the following year, when he averaged 25 points 12.9 rebounds and a career-high 5.4 assists per game in 48 outings for the Pelicans. But, injury struck when he ruptured his Achilles in January of 2018.
The two seasons since have been marred by injury with Cousins missing most of last season with the Golden State Warriors before returning to the lineup for the final 30 games and then rupturing his quad muscle in the playoffs. Cousins then signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason. But, tragedy struck once more as Cousins tore his ACL in August. He has yet to play a game for the Lakers. Barnes asked him about his mindset after going through several years of injury rehab.
“I would be lying to say it hasn’t been tough, but I grew up a lot different,” said Cousins. “So, for me, these injuries are just another form of adversity. When I say I grew up different, I have been facing adversity my entire life.”
Cousins is continuing to rehab from the torn ACL and according to recent reports, he could make it back to play for the Lakers in the playoffs.
You can watch All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime Basketball’s Youtube channel.