The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears provided a statement from the team:
The Kings have a clear set of standards of conduct expected of our entire organization. As a result of negative interactions with certain members of the media that were not corrected after verbal warnings, we have decided to impose a substantial fine. If this behavior is repeated again we will be forced to consider further discipline.
There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction and look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.
According to Sacramento Bee editor Joyce Terhaar, Cousins took exception to a column Furillo had written that mentioned a nightclub incident involving Cousins and his brother Jaleel in May. Terhaar provided a brief summary of the verbal altercation:
Monday was the first time Furillo saw Cousins after the column published. The altercation started with a glare from Cousins, and quickly escalated as the player closed in on Furillo, shouting "We're going to have some real f---ing issues. Don't ever mention my brother again." He continued his profane tirade, as teammate Garrett Temple got between the two and kept his arm around Cousins' middle, and Kings spokesman Chris Clark motioned to Cousins to stop.
Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger was critical of Cousins' actions but understood where he's coming from, according to the Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones:
Cousins' talent has rarely been in question, but Bleacher Report's Howard Beck noted the situation with Furillo highlighted the baggage that comes with the two-time All-Star:
Last Wednesday, Beck explained that Cousins' reputation precedes him and that many front office executives would decline to acquire the big man if given the option:
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Cousins is averaging 28.3 points, a career-high, and 10.7 rebounds per game, yet the Kings remain outside the Western Conference playoff picture. With a 10-17 overall record, Sacramento is two games back of the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.
The Kings will soon have to make a difficult decision regarding the 26-year-old. He's only signed through the 2017-18 campaign, at which time he'll become an unrestricted free agent.
Cousins is the face of the franchise, so trading him or letting him walk in free agency would be risky for Sacramento. Of course, signing him to a lengthy, long-term extension carries plenty of potential pitfalls as well.
Cousins' confrontation with Furillo underscores the idea that both he and the Kings might be better off going their separate ways.