ESPN’s Marc Stein writes that the Kings are close to signing DeMarcus Cousins to an extension before the October 31 deadline. We mentioned this when discussing Shaquille O’Neal‘s new place as minority owner in Sacramento, but now it appears the Kings are hoping to get Cousins signed before Halloween to avoid any distractions in their first year rebuilding the franchise after a summer that saw them replace the owner, general manager and coach.
Stein’s report has two sources claiming that the 6-11 front court player out of Kentucky is due to have his rookie-scale contract extended before the Kings open training camp next week:
Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins is on course to see his contract extended before the Oct. 31 extension deadline for 2010 first-round picks, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
Two sources told ESPN.com that Cousins could actually have a deal wrapped up before the Kings open training camp next week in Santa Barbara, Calif.
But even if it takes longer, sources say Cousins will indeed join John Wall, Larry Sanders and Paul George on the list of 2010 draftees to receive contract extensions before the Halloween buzzer.
In our earlier piece about Shaquille O’Neal’s new minority stake in the Kings, Sam Amick asked new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive about whether the Kings will sign Cousins before the Halloween deadline.
“I don’t want to say anything premature,” Ranadive said. “But I’ve been constant in my support for DeMarcus.”
With John Wall getting a max contract extension in Washington, and Paul George set to get one in Indiana, Cousins appears destined to be the third player from the 2010 NBA Draft to acquire a max extension and designated franchise player status.
But as Stein notes in his report, it’s far from a done deal. Cousins has battled issues on- and off-the-court through his first three seasons in the league, but last season averaged 17.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG and a 20.2 PER. Despite the offensive firepower, he’s slothful on the defensive end, particularly on the pick-and-roll, as noted by Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
According to NBA.com, the Kings were a much better defensive team with Cousins on the bench and even scored more — per 100 possessions — when he was riding the pine. With Cousins in the game, the Kings scored 102.2 points per possession (PPP). With him on the bench, they scored 104.0 PPP. Defensively, it gets worse: the Kings gave up 109.5 PPP with Cousins in the game, which would have been the very worst mark in the league last season. They gave 107.4 PPP with him on the bench.
All those points add up, but despite whisperings the addition of head coach Mike Malone meant Cousins was probably gone this summer, Malone claims he wants to work with DC. Now the refurbished franchise is looking to get an extension done so Cousins’ contract is not hanging over their head this season. Fans, analysts and observers are all pretty ambivalent about Cousins’ potential for the franchise moving forward, but the new faces guiding Sacramento seem pretty convinced he should be signed to a long-term deal sooner, rather than later.
Should the Kings sign DeMarcus Cousins to a max extension?
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