NORTH NATOMAS —- The Sacramento Kings first order of business, hours before Media Day on Sept. 30 at the Practice Facility, was signing fourth-year center DeMarcus Cousins to a four-year, $62 million contract.
The members of the organization sealed the deal and let Cousins know that he’s the cornerstone of the Kings’ future. Cousins’ presence as the face of the team also couples with giving him a leadership role on and off the basketball court.
“I’m blessed to be in this situation and I am extremely happy that we finally got this done,” Cousins said. “I like where this organization is going and I am glad they believe in me.”
The Sacramento Kings principle owner Vivek Ranadive and Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro said they didn’t see it as a “leap of faith” in squaring up Cousins’ position a month before the season started.
Cousin’s bad-boy reputation has been well documented since he arrived in the NBA as a 19-year-old center out of Kentucky. Ranadive, who made his name in the software business, said there are always risks when making decisions. But signing Cousins to start his ownership era was there for the taking.
“I am in the software business and we bet on people all of the time,” Ranadive said. “For me it’s natural. (Cousins) is one of the best, if not the best, big man in the business. There was never a doubt in my mind that he was going to be the foundation of this franchise moving forward. He’s a fine young man.”
After signing on the dotted line, Cousins’ mother Monique Cousins and his one-year-old son Amir Cousins attended the news conference. Despite her son’s up-and-down pattern with Kings, Monique Cousins said DeMarcus can completely start fresh with the new leadership of the team.
“This is already like a fresh breath of air,” Monique Cousins told The OBSERVER. “Words cannot describe how wonderful the atmosphere is and how the dialogue was easy to understand. I believe that anytime in life when you go through things it builds character. Something that works for you…you apply yourself a little more. Something that doesn’t work for you…you know you need to change. Unless you go through those types of things you are not able to better yourself. So with all the knots that go along with it…I feel like there are betters things to come,” Ms. Cousins stated.
Cousins’ teammate Isaiah Thomas was happy about the center getting a new contract. Thomas doesn’t expect an expedited overnight transition from Cousins, though he is confident that he can be a leader and handle the responsibilities that go with the job.
“He’s DeMarcus Cousins and he’s gonna be who he is,” Thomas said. “He’s one of the best players in this league and he can be the best big man in this league if he wants to. It’s there for him. Knowing that he’s the franchise player and got the big money…there’s a lot that comes with that. He has to be ready for all of it. Not just the good things but the bad things. That’s what comes with being a superstar and getting a big contract,” Thomas stated.
Training Camp Starts in Santa Barbara
After all all the commotions of keeping the Sacramento Kings where it has been for the last 28 seasons, some of the players from last season can officially get back to business and hopefully perform well without uncertainty in the air.
With a roster of 17 players, the Kings will have their first practice on Oct. 1 at Pavilion Gym in the Recreation Center located on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. The move is to give the players, coaches and staff time to gel and build unity away from Sacramento.
Since the Kings principle owner Vivek Ranadive and his ownership group took over the organization there has been nothing but change. On top of that, the players can see and feel the difference. Now it’s up to the players to do their part.
“It’s a new coaching staff…it’s just a new everything,” third-year point guard Isaiah Thomas said. “You have to been ready from Day 1. They said they are not giving anybody anything and you’ll have to earn it. That’s how I’ve been my whole life. It’s right in my backyard for me.”
The Kings will practice through Sunday, Oct. 6 before traveling to Oakland for the team’s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Monday, Oct. 7.
DeMarcus also announced that he will donate $1 million of his new salary to needy families in the Sacramento region.
SACRAMENTO KINGS 2013-14 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmer Fredette, Chuck Hayes, DeQuan Jones, Carl Landry, Trent Lockett, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Ray McCallum.
Ben McLemore, Hamady Ndiaye, Travis Outlaw, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons, Isaiah Thomas, Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, and Greivis Vasquez.
By Antonio Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer