Amid the ownership upheaval and the rapid changes to the front office staff, various rumors and reports over the past several months attempted to suggest the Sacramento Kings were looking to part with talented big man DeMarcus Cousins. Well, it's finally time to put those rumors to rest.
General manager Pete D'Alessandro and head coach Michael Malone recently paid a special visit to Cousins' home in Mobile, Ala., and the main message from the meeting was that the Kings consider the 22-year-old big man a franchise centerpiece, according to a report from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Here's what Sacramento's GM had to say:
"DeMarcus is a really talented player and we look forward to him being a major part of this team," D'Alessandro told Yahoo! Sports. "We want him to get better as a player and help him get there. That's our mission. We love him in this role. I'm sure he's excited about it."
"He's a remarkable talent," D'Alessandro said. "He's a dominant player. There are very few dominant bigs. I look forward to our relationship growing, with myself, the new owners and the coaching staff. We have to support him to get to where he can."
As noted at SB Nation's Kings blog, Sactown Royalty, Cousins is eligible to sign an early-Bird extension that would go into effect in 2014-15, and he may be looking for the maximum amount allowed under the CBA. His agent, Dan Fegan, is currently consumed with the Dwight Howard decision and the negotiations that will follow, but Cousins could be next in line for a deal. Sacramento has agreed to trade away Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal, so Cousins is now presumably the core piece of the team, along with first-round pick Ben McLemore.
In short, it seems like the Kings are more than comfortable with the idea of building around Cousins.