SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac said in a statement last Thursday that he was suspending center DeMarcus Cousins one game for conduct detrimental to the team. But in his first comments since being sidelined, Cousins said he believes coach George Karl actually made the call.
Cousins totaled 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in his first game following his one-game suspension. The two-time All-Star was suspended for yelling at Karl during a timeout during a 120-111 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 9. Cousins served the suspension during a 107-100 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday.
When told of Cousins' view of the suspension, Divac told Yahoo Sports with a huge grin: "I love DeMarcus Cousins. That is my only comment."
It's no secret Cousins and Karl aren't the best of friends.
Karl drew Cousins' ire after Karl said during the offseason that the two-time All-Star could be traded. Cousins also loudly voiced his displeasure in the locker room after a 106-88 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 9. The longtime NBA head coach took that incident hard, a source close to him said.
Cousins has often voiced his displeasure with Karl to the media this season. There were reports that Karl could be fired during the NBA All-Star break, but he is expected to coach the rest of this season. Sources close to Cousins told Yahoo Sports there is a belief that Karl has pushed several times for the Kings' star player to be suspended.
Karl said prior to the Jazz game that he and Cousins exchanged pleasantries.
"Nothing in-depth," said Karl, who has a 36-59 overall record with the Kings. "I'm not going to communicate how we evolve in this. The big thing is to win tonight. The best for 'Cuz,' for me, for everybody, for the team, is to get a win."
After the Kings didn't get the win, Cousins disputed the "pleasantries" Karl claimed he shared with his center. "He hasn't said a word to me," Cousins said.
The Kings have had five different coaches and three general managers since Cousins arrived as the fifth pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Sacramento has not made the postseason in 10 years. This season's team (25-40) has gone from a playoff contender a month ago to damaging any postseason hopes with five straight losses.
Of all Cousins' difficult seasons in Sacramento, he described this one as perhaps the most frustrating.
"There is a lot of chaos," Cousins said. "Usually, there is just frustration with coming out and winning games. But so much extra stuff this season. Extra unnecessary stuff. It's a lot of stuff within.
"There are battles with guys that should be on your side."