DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings got into a verbal altercation with head coach Keith Smart after a loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles Friday night. Saturday, he was suspended by the team indefinitely without pay for “”unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.”
The situation blew up at halftime of that game, a Clippers’ victory, when Smart and Cousins exchanged words in the locker room. The game resumed with Cousins restricted to the locker room by Smart.
“We’re trying to set a standard here, and when guys move below that standard, things are going to take place,” Smart said after the game in Los Angeles. “We’ll just move on to the next game and I’ll make some decisions from there.”
Said Cousins: “What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. But I was wrong. I was wrong. I’m a player that definitely wants to win every night, and I’m an emotional player. That’s never going to change. But I shouldn’t have responded back. Something was said, and I just should have stayed quiet. Is it a humbling thing? Yeah, I will say that. I mean, I messed up and I apologize to my teammates for responding the way I did and I’ll move on from it.”
Cousins is developing a reputation as a malcontent. In just his second season he was two suspensions this season and been in several spats.
For instance, Cousins was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for striking Dallas Mavericks’ gaurd O.J. Mayo in the groin during a loss at Dallas on Dec. 10. Following a loss at San Antonio on Nov. 9, the league suspended Cousins two games without pay for confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a “hostile manner.”
Cousins is leading the team in scoring with 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds. He had issues with last season with Kings coach Paul Westphal, who was fired after a 2-5 start — a move that came after he released a statement criticizing Cousins’ commitment to the team and excusing him for a game.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Cousins “has some growing up to do” after Cousins’ workout over the summer in Las Vegas with the U.S. select team