DeMarcus Cousins: Keith Smart and Kings Must Look to Trade Disgruntled Center

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2012

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 10:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Center on December 10, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins has the fire NBA coaches love to see in their star players, but that same desire to succeed has built him a bad reputation and has his future with the Sacramento Kings up in the air. 

While the potential is there, coach Keith Smart and the Kings front office can't afford to wait for a more mature, collected Cousins to show up in Sactown. That's why the team must look to move Cousins this season, before his value can plummet any further.

This from Bryan May of KXTV-TV in Sacramento on Friday after Cousins' latest run-in with the Kings coaching staff:

Keith Smart saying he will "make decisions" regarding Cousins future later.

— Bryan May (@BMayNews10) December 22, 2012


In case you missed it, Cousins was asked not to play the second half of Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to KXTV-TV's Bryan May via Twitter:

Kings coaching staff tells DeMarcus Cousins NOT to come out for the 2nd half.he will not play remainder of game.No exact reason given

— Bryan May (@BMayNews10) December 22, 2012


NBA writer James Ham offered up a likely reason via Twitter:

Wow. Kings showing video of Cousins yapping at Smart before the half. That is very un-Kings like.

— James Ham (@James_Ham) December 22, 2012


Trading Cousins and losing a former No. 5 overall pick would be a huge blow for the Kings, but until they part ways with the third-year center they won't be able to take a step forward in terms of becoming a contending franchise.

Quite frankly, the Kings aren't going to win anything so long as Cousins is their go-to player. 

Sure, Cousins is Sacramento's leading scorer and rebounder this season, averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per night, but he's only shooting 41 percent from the field and is tied for the league lead in technical fouls with seven.

At what point does Cousins become more of a problem than a solution?

Last season, one where the former Kentucky star averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, was an excellent example of what Cousins is capable of providing night in and night out in the NBA. But the plethora of silly, costly mistakes made out of frustration speak to his current situation in Sacramento. 

Cousins was suspended for a game earlier in December for striking Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo in the groin, leading to these comments from Mayo (via's Tim MacMahon):

That guy has some mental issues, man. He's a talented player. He has an opportunity to be the face of that organization, but I don't think he wants it...He's immature, man. Big maturity problem. Hopefully, he'll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.

Cousins responded to the comments as you might expect, questioning Mayo's credentials, but his latest incident seems to have his maturity level being questioned by people other than Mayo.

Cousins went from a winning program in Lexington to a losing franchise with the Kings. After going 35-3 in his final season with the Wildcats, his Kings teams have yet to win more than 24 games in a season.

They're off to a disappointing 8-18 start this season. Clearly, losing has had a negative impact on Cousins, but that's a part of being a professional. Until Cousins can lose like a pro, he won't be able to win like a pro. And that's why the Kings must look to part ways with a player who is becoming more of a liability than an asset.

The current atmosphere in Sacramento is not conducive to winning, nor is it conducive to bringing out the best in DeMarcus Cousins.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter