Kings play-by-play man Grant Napear cheers the removal of 'dark cloud' DeMarcus Cousins

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4720/" data-ylk="slk:DeMarcus Cousins">DeMarcus Cousins</a> looms large. (Getty Images)
DeMarcus Cousins looms large. (Getty Images)

If anyone has a damaged hand on the pulse on what makes the Sacramento Kings click, or cluck, it’s longtime play by play broadcaster and sports talk radio host Grant Napear. The Kings went through two ownership groups, three sets of general managers and six coaches and an ungodly amount of teammates during DeMarcus Cousins’ 2010-through-2017 reign, but only one play-by-play guy slash sports talk radio host.

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And that play-by-play guy slash sports talk radio host is really, really glad to see DeMarcus Cousins out of Sacramento.

Napear, the Comcast SportsNet California and KTHK host, dove in on the DeMarcus trade just after it was announced on Sunday evening:






Napear has spent, oh, the last half a day or so defending his initial missives via his Twitter account. Such is life during the game-less days and nights that mark the NBA’s extended All-Star break.

For those that don’t settle in to watch Kings games locally, or Sacramento contests on League Pass, you might remember Grant Napear as one of two NBA announcers the broadcaster DeMarcus Cousins challenged following a game in 2013, after Napear said some unkind things about the then-Kings franchise player during his radio show:

Mike Prada at SB Nation relayed some thoughts Napear had last season, when the rudderless Kings were staring down yet another season of a dismayed Cousins as prime catch, with Lord Knows Who expecting to step in as the next Kings savior at coach:

“The Kings are gonna have another bad season this year, and in my opinion, he’s largely responsible for it. He’s largely responsible for it because his teammates just flatout get sick of it. They don’t want to deal with it. He sucks the air out of the locker room. Disrespectful to your superiors, disrespectful to authoritative figures, it’s flat-out wrong. Now, I don’t know about you, okay – I’ve seen six years of it, and I’ve seen enough, okay? But I’m not – I don’t make the decisions about this organization. I have a talk show, and I announce the games. Alright? These decisions are way above my head. That’s not what I do.

“What I am saying, though, is – does this community want to move into a brand new, iconic, phenomenal building with a clean slate, or do they want the slate muddied before they even walk into the door? Does anyone think that DMC is not going to be doing the same stuff next year? Why would we think that after six years of immature, disgraceful, embarrassing behavior, that just because we’re moving into a new building, that everything’s gonna be fine and dandy?

Former Memphis head coach Dave Joerger eventually filled the role of incoming coach, with George Karl thankfully out of the picture, and Cousins did play and play well (with some interruptions) with the Kings during the first four months of the newly established Golden 1 Center. For their troubles, Cousins and the Kings ran out to a 24-33 record during DeMarcus’ last year in Sacramento, somehow ranking just a game and a half behind the Denver Nuggets for the final spot in the Western Conference postseason bracket.

Grant Napear’s initial thoughts on the transaction allow us to remind ourselves of the inarguable truth behind All Things Boogie: Everyone is wrong, here. Everyone. Nobody is left here to sing the roulade. Only cluckers are on the call sheet.

Everyone failed everyone in ways that certainly won’t be sorted out by this trade – sending Cousins to New Orleans for Buddy Hield, a protected first round pick in 2017, a second round pick this June, former King Tyreke Evans and salary cap fodder in the soon-to-be-waived Langston Galloway. Nothing will be sorted out, for years. Even removing attitude and intrigue away from considerations, nobody has any clue how Cousins will line up alongside the still seemingly-fitful Anthony Davis in the New Orleans front court.

And few know how Buddy Hield, just over a half-season into his rookie year, will react to being The Guy in Sacramento. We do know that he wasn’t exactly ready for prime time in New Orleans when All-Star Game MVP Davis was on the floor:


And yet, in a low-rated cable television exhibition on Friday night, Kings general manager Vlade Divac seems to have seen enough:


Napear’s frustrations with the three-time All-Star whose games he called for 6 1/2 seasons is understandable, and it fits right in with the immediate explanation out of Sacramento.

That Kings owner Vivek Ranadive somehow found fault in Cousins’ reaction to an unexpected win over the Golden State Warriors, and that this outburst was somehow the final straw in a Sacramento career that saw Cousins berate his various coaching staffs, teammates, local media, out of town media, and eventually (and apparently most damning) Vivek Ranadive’s beloved Golden State Warriors.

DeMarcus Cousins was a mess in Sacramento, in ways that cannot be explained away by the reminder that the Sacramento Kings were and remain the league’s most dysfunctional franchise. Outposts in Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, Brooklyn and even New York City have nothing on the run of unconscionable business and especially basketball decisions various arms of the Sacramento Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins was still a drag, though. A major drag that seemed ill-suited for even the best of franchises, and certainly not the NBA’s worst.

So much of a drag that Grant Napear, who has been working Sacramento Kings games since before Jerry Sloan was the coach of the Utah Jazz and before Vlade Divac was even an active NBA player, wanted him off of his group.

Grant Napear hasn’t called a playoff game since Bonzi Wells was a major participant in the Kings’ postseason push, and yet he’s able to talk himself into Buddy Hield, an eventual so-so first-round pick, a second-rounder, an expiring contract, and the hope that the Kings will lose enough between now and the end of 2016-17.

If Sacramento loses enough, something they’ve actually had a little bit of an issue with over the last decade in spite of repeated trips to the lottery (the Kings’ won/loss record and lottery luck always leaves them with middling status), then they won’t have to give up their 2017 first round – currently slated to head to Chicago if Sacramento (currently the 11th-worst team in the NBA) ends up with a first round pick out of the top ten in the NBA draft.

That’s how bad it was in Sacramento, that the removal of a player averaging almost 28 points, just about 11 rebounds and nearly five assists was greeted as a respite. Even if the insurance check taken in exchange won’t pay for the years wasted building the now burned-out building, or the cleanup of the wreckage, or clarify why, exactly, the Sacramento Kings so badly wanted J.J. Hickson some 5 1/2 years ago.

This is a bad trade. The Sacramento Kings messed this up, as they do most things, badly. Napear has had his faced rubbed in more Kings nonsense than anyone else – more than any coach, beat writer, analyst, player or team executive – and he would be well served to immediately turn his attention and Twitter account to just how badly the Kings have botched this deal, and the Cousins era that preceded it.

Still, there is relief in Sacramento, and that does count for something.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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