To say it’s been a rocky start to DeMarcus Cousins‘ career with the Sacramento Kings would be a massive understatement. Through his first six seasons, they’ve been through almost as many coaches, prematurely firing the only one he got along with in Mike Malone and replacing him with George Karl, who clashed with the All-Star big man from the get-go.
After so much fanfare, Karl is gone now, too, in exchange for Dave Joerger, who made a name for himself as a tough, defensive-minded strategist during his tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies. But will his stewardship be enough to convince Boogie to stick around in Sacramento when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2018? A lot of that will depend on how things pan out over the next two seasons, with a first-time playoff berth surely standing as a minimal prerequisite.
Still, some believe that all the turmoil surrounding the organization has soured Cousins enough that he’ll bolt town the first opportunity he gets, as Zach Harper of CBS Sports notes:
“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” said one league executive. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency but you’d love to have that card to play.”
Team president Vlade Divac has insisted on numerous occasions that Cousins isn’t on the trading block, but yet another wasted season could certainly change that, especially as that deadline nears and they eventually face the prospect of losing him and getting nothing in return.