Boogie Fever can keep raging on in Sac-Town.
DeMarcus Cousins has been the best player on the Sacramento Kings for a while now, and it appears as though he'll maintain that status well into the future. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the two sides are coming close to a contract extension that would keep the Kentucky product from hitting the open market after the 2013-14 season:
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.
Stein also notes that the big man isn't guaranteed to get a max contract. His volatility on the court—an issue that has led to suspensions (some of which were indefinite), technical fouls and ejections—has curtailed his effectiveness in the past, and it might hinder his earning potential as well.
But still, Cousins has the talent of a max player.
He's coming off a 2012-13 campaign in which he averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 blocks per game with a PER of 20.2. If Boogie could put the tools together on defense and develop a bit more consistency with his jumper, he'd have a shot at ascending to the top of the center rankings.
He's that talented, and it won't hurt at all that, according to USA Today's Sam Amick, Shaquille O'Neal is now going to be mentoring the young big man. As Amick reported from a discussion with Shaq, what they do for Cousins "between the ears" will be the most important. O'Neal continued:
The way I'm going to evaluate him is I'm going to evaluate him four times a year, every 20 games. "OK, what are you doing? You need to do this. You need to do that." I can't teach him everything, and I don't want to teach him everything. He has a fabulous game, so it's all about the conversation.
Does Cousins deserve a max deal?
The thought of a mentally focused Cousins is terrifying. He's already a physically dominant player who has produced fantastic numbers at the ripe young age of 23.
If Sacramento does indeed ink Cousins to a big contract, work between the ears will be necessary. Once he gets his head screwed on straight for an extended period of time, though, there will be no regrets.