Following his brief suspension for hostile actions towards head coach Keith Smart, DeMarcus Cousins returned to the court for the Sacramento Kings on Friday night against the New York Knicks.
However, according to a report from USA Today’s Sam Amick, Cousins’ return to the court doesn’t mean all is well in Sacramento.
Amick reports that,
“The decision to reinstate Cousins on Dec. 24 was made unilaterally by the team’s owners and went against the wishes and planned protocol of the team’s front office.”
He also notes,
“Smart, whose contract with the team runs through next season, was later allowed to sit Cousins in Wednesday’s game at the Portland Trail Blazers and start Cousins on Friday. Longtime general manager Geoff Petrie, however, was not a key part of the reinstatement process.”
The whole Cousins’ situation illuminates the complete disarray that the organization is in.
With Cousins’ behavior, there was already a dilemma in Sacramento. The Kings had to decide if they should trade the talented, but immature big man, or if they should keep him around.
This was, and still is a very difficult situation.
Unfortunately, the Maloof brothers made the problem even worse by ignoring the decisions Smart and Petrie had already made. Their “unilateral” decision to reinstate Cousins undermined the authority of Smart and the rest of the front office.
Petrie, who is most likely in his last year in Sacramento may as well leave right now if he is going to be excluded from the decision making process regarding team matters.
Reinstating Cousins without consulting Smart makes his job as head coach more difficult than it already is. Smart is already struggling with Cousins’ antics and a 10-19 record. He tried to deal with the situation by suspending the budding star. Unfortunately for Smart, the Maloofs’ rash decision undermined the coach and gave Cousins all the power in the situation.
The suspension was supposed to be a punishment for Cousins’ actions. Reinstating him almost immediately, and against the wishes of the front office sends the wrong message to the talented youngster.
It reinforces to Cousins that he can continue to act however he wants because in the end, his talent will cause people to overlook any problems he causes off the court.
Sacramento has many issues to deal with, both on and off the court. Now, though, it is clear that the problems are deeper than a struggling team trying to deal with an immature star. The owners and the front office are divided on the most important issue facing the team.
Changes need to be made in Sacramento and they need to be made soon.