To DeMarcus Cousins:
After your most recent altercation with Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart—leading to an indefinite suspension, lasting two games—we, as Kings fans, are starting to become concerned for the future.
What once seemed like a few minor misunderstandings from a young 20- or 21-year-old during your first two years in the league, has suddenly turned into a trend, as you've now been in the NBA for two-plus seasons, and your transgressions seem to occur more frequently and with greater severity.
In the past, we could trump it up to your youth, frustrations with losing and lack of a rapport with former head coach Paul Westphal. But the excuses are no longer valid; Westphal's gone and you've played in the NBA long enough to handle losing professionally.
After all, with an 82-game season, every team, even the best of them, will have to deal with some tough losses. Handling them with class isn't a reflection that you don't care or that you aren't a competitor; it's just part of being a professional.
Furthermore, as arguably the best player on the Kings, it's up to you to help turn things around. If you're out with a suspension, the team is likely to lose. If you're disengaged because you're frustrated, the team is likely to lose.
If you want to be part of a winning organization, it starts with you. Even in a team game like basketball, that's the mentality you need to have. You can't expect your teammates and coaches to be accountable for themselves if you also aren't accountable for yourself.
If you think you're being unfairly targeted by the officials, unfair or not, that's life. If that's the case, you're ultimately responsible for it.
Remember, DeMarcus: for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. You arguing with the officials is one action; the officials giving you a technical foul for your incessant complaining is the opposing reaction. Conversely, if you avoid responding, the referees will abstain from punishing you. It's really that simple.
That doesn't just go for the referees, it goes for your coaches, the Kings organization and the NBA as a whole. I can assure you that without a reason to punish you, no punishment will be doled out. Nobody's out to get you, they're just responding accordingly to what you've done first.
As someone not directly involved with the Sacramento Kings, I can't officially speak for the franchise. What I can say is that it's got your back. Because, like it or not, there's a very fragile balance that's still ever so slightly in your favor. On one side is talent provided; on the other side is trouble caused. As long as the talents you provide outweigh the trouble you cause, the Kings will support you.
As a 22-year-old center with the size and athleticism you provide, you'd have to cause a lot of trouble for the organization to no longer back you. While you're clearly beginning to toe the line, you haven't crossed it yet.
The Kings need you, and they're seemingly convinced that you're still part of the solution. That's a good place to be in, and it's one of the reasons that what you do going forward becomes increasingly important.
For one, what I can say is that if you're able to get the Kings back on the right track, and turn around your behavior, you won't find a more supportive fanbase than the one in Sacramento. These fans unequivocally support their team; whether they support the ownership is a different story for a different day.
If you help make this team a winner—and I'm not even talking about an NBA champion, just a consistent playoff team—you'll never again have to buy a meal in Sacramento for the rest of your life. You'll be the toast of the town for as long as you live.
If you're not in it for the fans, then here's something else that should motivate you: money. Of which, the Kings can provide more than any other team. Don't kid yourself, DeMarcus, with your talents and without your troubles, the Kings would undoubtedly open the bank for you.
Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, your incumbent team (the Sacramento Kings) can guarantee you more money and an extra year compared to any other team. So, from a financial standpoint, making it work in Sacramento is also in your best interest.
Granted, you could get traded to another team which could get you to re-sign under those same terms. But if you're indeed traded by the Kings, it probably means you're getting into even more trouble, which would make you a volatile investment, thereby costing you lots of money.
Is it time for the Kings to trade Cousins?
Clearly, DeMarcus, it's in everyone's best interest for it to work out in Sacramento. It's in the fans' best interest because we want a winning product, and having an engaged DeMarcus Cousins is our greatest chance at getting that. It's in the franchise's best interest because you're extremely talented, and any trade involving you won't bring equal value. Most importantly, it's in your best interest because it's where you can make the most money and where you'll be appreciated the most.
At this point, the ball is in your court. We'd love to have you in Sacramento, but we don't need you. If you can get in line, all of your past troubles will be forgotten. If you can't, you'll quickly become more of a headache than you're worth. That would be a shame considering how promising your career started out.