Posted December 24, 2012

Kings lift Cousins’ suspension after one game

Ben Golliver, DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus Cousins has been reinstated after being suspended by the Kings on Saturday. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The Kings announced Monday that center DeMarcus Cousins has been reinstated after being suspended “indefinitely” on Saturday for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team,” a ban that amounted to one game.

Cousins was reportedly suspended after arguing with coach Keith Smart during the Kings’ 97-85 road loss to the Clippers on Friday night. The Kings defeated the Blazers 108-96 on Sunday in Sacramento without Cousins, who should be available for the team’s next game, in Portland on Wednesday.

CowbellKingdom.com reported Sunday that Cousins admitted that he was “wrong” for his role in the argument with Smart and that he had apologized to his teammates.

“What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room,”  Cousins said. “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,” he added.  ”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.”

CowbellKingdom.com also reported that Smart wants to see improved actions and not words.

“Deeds become important now,” said the Kings head coach when asked if Cousins’ continued apologies still hold credibility. “It’s not so much words.  And I think that’s where you’re trying to get him or any person to get (to understand) the deeds of it.  Because everyone will see your deeds and then there will be more believability there than just words you’re saying.”

The Sacramento Bee reported on Saturday that Kings GM Geoff Petrie acknowledged that Cousins’ temper has been an ongoing issue.

“It’s not something that just showed up yesterday, last year or two years ago or five years ago,” [Petrie] said. “But he’s our player so we want to work with him to get past this so he can be what everyone sees is possible.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that members of the Kings were growing frustrated with Smart. The Point Forward’s Rob Mahoney explored the dissatisfaction here.

This latest suspension marked the third of Cousins’ season. He was suspended two games by the NBA in November for a postgame verbal confrontation with Spurs color commentator Sean Elliott. He also earned a one-game suspension for a low blow on Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo earlier this month.

During his three-year career with the Kings, Cousins has been benched for flashing a “choking” sign to an opponent; thrown off the team plane after a dispute with a teammate; and fined by the organization for undisclosed reasons. He also reportedly argued with former coach Paul Westphal, which led to rumors of a possible trade request. Over the summer, Cousins participated in USA Basketball’s Select training program. Chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporters in July that Cousins “has some growing up to do” and that he “needs to mature as a person.” Cousins also recently claimed that an NBA referee cursed at him during an on-court exchange.

USA Today Sports reported Sunday that Cousins has left agent John Greig to sign with Dan Fegan, whose clients include Dwight Howard, Kevin Martin, Shawn Marion and John Wall. The Kings have been “strongly advising” Cousins to meet with a “mental health counselor,” according to the report

Cousins, 22, the fifth pick in the 2010 draft, is averaging 16.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He is making $3.9 million.

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