The Kings avoided relocation to Seattle, shipped Tyreke Evans out of town and locked down a new owner, general manager and head coach. Now, the most important task at hand is making sure Demarcus Cousins is down for the cause. And according to a quote he gave the Sacramento Bee, he seems to be talking the talk.
“I want to be a King. I do,” Cousins told Jason Jones. “I’m super excited where the franchise is headed. I’m glad to be apart of it.”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Demarcus Cousins could be the best center in basketball if all the pieces fell into alignment (and worked on his defense, but that’s neither here nor there). That’s why watching Boogie show flashes of dominance only to follow it up with one bonehead decision after another is so frustrating. Hearing him pledge his allegiance to the only pro franchise he’s even known is great and a step in the right direction, but it’s all going to boil down to what’s seen on the court this fall/winter.
Ownership is also in a precarious position, too. Do they offer Boogie an extension before November or allow him to become a restricted free agent next summer? That’s running the risk of playing with the emotions of a player who hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record in keeping his in control.
In the meantime, Boogie was invited back to tryouts for Team USA this summer following a publicized “spat” with Jerry Colangelo in 2012. Unlike this time 365 days ago, however, Cousins has let his play on the court speak for him instead of his attitude. “…for him [Colangelo] to push that aside and give me another chance, I’m very thankful. I’m going to come in here and make the best of the opportunity,” said Demarcus.
Boogie Cousins, (possible) future Olympian and All-Star big man. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, the “race” for Greg Oden has entered its final stages. “Race” as in the attempts to employ the bench services for a seven-footer I once convinced myself was the right choice for Portland in 2007 over that Durant guy. And “race” as in a guy who hasn’t played since December 5, 2009, and only 82 games total in his pro career.
The Pelicans, Spurs and Heat are reported to be the three finalists for Oden’s services, who Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas said in May appeared “unbelievable” in workouts.* Here’s the elevator pitch from all three.
New Orleans: Ease yourself back into the flow of the NBA away from the limelight alongside one of the best young big men in basketball in Anthony Davis and point guard Jrue Holiday.
San Antonio: Play for a title contender, but do so away from the glitz and glamour of other teams. Also play for arguably the most consistent franchise in sports since 1998. And do so coming off the bench while learning from one of the 10 greatest players ever in Tim Duncan and one of the best coaches in professional sports the past 25 years in Greg Popovich.
Miami: Instantly contend for a championship for a squad that’s played in the last three Finals and won two in a row. Come off the bench for 15-17 minutes per game. It’s not like you’d need to be 100% by training camp either. Just be healthy come playoff time when guarding the likes of Joakim Noah or Roy Hibbert is life or death. Scoring is a luxury, but all that’s required is to thrive in what you’ve been able to do your entire career (when healthy) – protect the basket and rebound. No state tax in Florida. And oh yeah, LeBron James is your teammate.
Oden’s choice is expected to come soon after reps from all three teams watch the former #1 overall pick work out this week.
* – To be fair, Thomas said Oden looked great working out and running. You know, things of that nature. He was working out in a hospital.
Photo: Getty Images
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