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Extension Details: Four-Year, $62 million dollar max extension.
When the Sacramento Kings dished out a max extension for DeMarcus Cousins, it was met with derision from many corners of the basketball world.
To be honest, the Cousins detractors made plenty of fair points. Maybe a franchise building block shouldn't be so unstable from a temperament standpoint, and sure, it's a little unnerving that Cousins has never shown consistent effort defensively or good shot selection.
It's hard to argue that Cousins' past production is anywhere near max-level, but that's not how extensions work. You're predicting future performance, and maybe it requires rose-colored glasses to see this, but Cousins certainly has the potential to be one of the league's most dominant players. There's no denying his skill level and size.
Handing Cousins a max contract is a show of good faith from the new ownership, management and coaching staff in Sacramento. It's a new beginning and a clean slate for everyone.
Was extending Cousins early instead of waiting to match in restricted free agency the most risk-averse decision? No. But even if this year plays out poorly, and Cousins continues the bad habits that make him so frustrating to watch, a team would still absolutely take a chance on his talent in restricted free agency.
The size of this deal was probably inevitable anyway, so why not start off on the right foot with Cousins? Is waiting it out for the slim chance that Cousins might get a few million less in a deal elsewhere really worth it?
If it does go poorly this year and Sacramento is ready to give up on him, Cousins' deal actually makes him a more attractive trade piece than it would if he were still slated to head to restricted free agency. Sacramento isn't going to be "stuck" with Cousins, because some team will always believe that it can turn him around and provide the right environment for him to succeed.
But instead of leaving the carrot dangling and feeding into the potential talk, the Kings are holding Cousins accountable. This extension gives Cousins something to live up to right now instead of in the future, and perhaps that's just what he needs.