Sacramento Sportswriters Should All Look Forward to a DeMarcus Cousins Extension


DeMarcus Cousins appears likely to re-sign with the Kings before he hits free agency after next season. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported last week the Kings are looking to use the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s designated player extension to entice Cousins to re-up this coming July, when the CBA goes into affect. James Ham of CSN California verified Stein’s reporting, and this summer Cousins is likely to sign a six-year, $207 million deal to stay with the Kings through the 2022–23 season. Some in Sacramento, however, don’t seem agreeable to another six years of DeMarcus Cousins.

A pair of Sacramento Bee reporters with a long, often acerbic history with the Kings’ best player, were asked by Boogie pointblank in the locker room on Wednesday whether they wanted him to re-sign in Sacramento.

In the video below, columnist Ailen Viosin offered up a “no comment,” and Andy Furillo, the Bee writer who Boogie infamously harangued in the Kings locker room after Furillo had mentioned Cousins’ brother in a column, told him “For me, I would say no.”

But why?

The Kings, despite their new arena, and a player-friendly GM in Vlade Divac, aren’t attracting the créme de la créme in July. In fact, some free agents have turned down larger offers from Sacramento because that extra moolah just wasn’t worth it.

And it’s not like Vlade and micromanaging owner Vivek Ranadive are expected to draft wisely — currently, they’ve got such a log-jam on the frontline, it’s likely one of the players they cut or waive will find success elsewhere — when they’re inevitably saddled with a low-end lottery selection should they miss the playoffs again this year, which they’ve done for the last decade. Rebuilding through the draft just isn’t likely.

On top of that, Cousins, as Draymond Green recently pointed out, is perhaps the finest big man in the game today. Some (i.e. me) might offer up Anthony Davis or Marc Gasol, especially Gasol, as a rebuttal to that statement (or even Draymond himself), but Green isn’t crazy for making that pronouncement. Currently, Cousins is leading the Kings in points, rebounds, blocks, steals, three-pointers and player efficiency rating (27.1), the latter of which is № 8 in the whole NBA, a couple spots ahead of a guy named LeBron.

Cousins is really good. Even his most ardent critics — all of whom seem to reside in Sacramento, or wherever out-of-touch Boomer columnists still pull a paycheck from a print outlet — can’t deny that. He won a gold medal over the summer in Brazil and will return to the All-Star game for the third straight year in New Orleans next month. He’s a two-time All-NBA Second Team selection, too. Everyone that matters who reports on the NBA knows he’s a legit force on the block even though his teams have never played past the last day of the regular season.

But Boogie is more than just a top-3 big man, he’s also interesting, even when he’s pouting during games and punching chairs. A couple years ago the basketball public was introduced to Boogie Smooth, his fake, R&B crooning alter-ego.

This year, Boogie says that if fans, media and other players vote him in as an All-Star starter, he’ll actually release an R&B album.

That’s not the only fun Cousins can have, despite yet another trying season where the Kings are, as of this writing, tied with the Blazers for the eighth and final playoff spot. Look at him and Joel Embiid going slap-happy on each other’s posteriors during a recent Sixers-Kings game:

And, despite what seems like a perpetual on-court scowl, Boogie is a tremendous asset in the local Sacramento community.

For example, he helped provide Thanksgiving meals for needy families in November.

And that same month he took 150 kids to see Moana.

Bu what really makes Cousins so interesting and such a geyser of inspiration for sportswriters, is that same guy who brings meals to needy families and takes a bunch of adorable kids to see an animated movie; that same guy who is a top-3 big man in the NBA also spits mouthguards at opponents and curses out the fine men and women who act as NBA referees.

We’re all a pastiche of good and bad impulses, but Boogie’s are more overt because he’s in the public eye, and he’s definitely got a Dr. Jekyl - Mr. Hyde thing going on. He’s not two-faced, that’s Chris Paul according to Boogie, but he contains multitudes, all of which provides a richer tapestry for journalistic interpretation and coverage.

Bee writers should be lucky to have such a captivating subject to study and interact with during their normally ho-hum work covering the team. He enriches us all, even if the glowering, 6-foot-11 giant might also terrify media members who catch his ire in the locker room. But they’re all adults, and they should know that it’s mostly posturing.

I’d guess, if Boogie really did leave in free agency, both Andy Furillo and Ailene Voisin would start to miss him before too long. The Kings are a better basketball team, but they’re also more interesting to cover when Cousins is involved. I hope for the sack of the fans and the reporters who cover the team, he re-ups and spends the rest of his career trying to return the team to relevance.