The Sacramento Kings face their first big test of the season this week, and its not on the court. Power forward DeMarcus Cousins has, according to the team, requested a trade.
The second year forward is a handful in the best and worst of ways. Since Orlando Magic forward Glen Davis already has the moniker Big Baby, maybe we should call Cousins Bigger Baby or XL Baby, or something like that. He consistently got into trouble in high school and college, and during his rookie season with Sacramento, he got into a fight with a teammate who didn’t pass him the ball in a crucial situation. He is overweight, never met a shot he didn’t like, and often gets into foul trouble.
OTOH, he can be a handful in the right way too. On opening night last Monday in Sacramento, he tossed all star Pau Gasol around like the proverbial sack of potatoes in leading the Kings to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Cousins’s potential for superstardom is being obscured by his potential to wash out of the league like so many others who had the talent to star in the NBA but lacked the discipline to maximize those skills. The Kings quandary is that to trade him now, would be to move an asset at the lowpoint of its value. The best thing to do is to let Cousins back into the fold for a few weeks. If he plays well, he’s restored his trade value and can be moved for comparable worth instead of the nickels on the dollar deal that they would have to accept now. If Cousins blows up again, well, his market value really can’t go any lower than it already is.
Giving Cousins, “one last chance” will make the Kings looks weak and indecisive in the short term, but the long term payoff, a proper return in a trade for their troubled young player, is worth the risk.