Tag:Paul Westphal
Posted on: September 23, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 3:11 pm
 

7 lost stories from canceled NBA preseason

Posted by Ben Golliver

silver-stern-2

On Friday, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported the dreadful news that we've all been fearing: the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have failed to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in time, meaning training camp and portions of the preseason schedule have been indefinitely postponed and/or canceled.

Preseason is always a fun time of the NBA calendar, guaranteed to be chockfull of "Player X added 15 pounds of muscle" and "Lottery team Y finally seems poised for a playoff push" stories. Of course, no preseason means no preseason stories. No hype, no hope. More Adam Silver, more David Stern. What a bummer. 

So here's a rundown of seven stories you would have been reading had the NBA and the NBPA gotten their collective act together in time to save the schedule. These stories are lost everywhere, except for here.

1. Security Detains Eddy Curry Outside AmericanAirlines Arena

MIAMI -- It appears that Eddy Curry will not be joining the Miami Heat after all.

Following nearly a year of reports indicating that Curry had lost an NBA-record 468 pounds since he was released by the Minnesota Timberwolves at least year's trade deadline, the free agent center was forcibly removed from AmericanAirlines Arena property by a cadre of four security guards on Tuesday. The use of force was deemed necessary after direct requests to leave from Heat president Pat Riley and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra were not heeded. 

"We didn't want to do it but we really had no choice," said Joseph Watkins, the guard assigned to carry Curry's left leg. "I was just following orders."

"What can I say? I got my hopes up," Curry explained. "I kept reading over and over that Miami was interested in me and I thought I could help LeBron [James] win a ring finally. I thought they would change their mind if I showed I was determined. I guess they wanted to go a different direction."

After the trimmed-down center had been dragged to an auxiliary parking lot, Riley briefly asked a reporter who Curry was before returning to the Heat's training session, which was closed to the media. When practice broke, Spoelstra indicated that the defending Eastern Conference champions were comfortable with their center rotation of Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, and Bill Wennington, and are not in the market for another big man.

"We like our guys," Spoelstra said.

Curry told the Associated Press that he isn't sure when or where his next basketball opportunity will come but did indicate that he would like to have the plastic handcuffs removed from his wrists, or at least loosened, as soon as possible.

2. Bloody Prank Signals Rift Between Thunder Stars?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- A severed head was discovered inside a backpack belonging to Kevin Durant on Friday.

The Thunder's All-Star forward pulled the ghoulish, plastic mask -- which bore an uncanny resemblance to coach Scottie Brooks and had been doused in ketchup to simulate the appearance of blood -- out of his signature carry-all following an evening workout. With a look of bewilderment, Durant tossed the mask into a nearby trash can before returning to the team's practice court to work on his free throw shooting.

"I'm just out here trying to get better," Durant said, shrugging off his unsettling discovery.

It's not yet known who placed the mask in Durant's backpack, although suspicion was immediately cast upon Russell Westbrook. The mercurial guard led the NBA in postseason technical fouls in 201, rarely passes the ball because he's so self-involved and sometimes has a "funny look" -- according to multiple teammates -- in his eyes. Center Kendrick Perkins apparently implicated Westbrook in the incident when he stormed out of the practice facility, repeatedly yelling the words, "I told y'all! I told y'all!" 

The incident raises anew the question of whether Oklahoma City's two All-Stars will be capable of coexisting as their careers and games develop.

"Halloween is Monday," Westbrook said, cryptically, before rushing a free-throw extended jump shot and completely hurdling teammate Eric Maynor to claim the offensive rebound.

Thunder president Sam Presti did not offer an alibi for himself, but what else is new?

3. Rivers: More Needed From Rondo For Green To Succeed

BOSTON -- Nine months after the most controversial trade in recent Boston Celtics history, coach Doc Rivers continued to defend forward Jeff Green from media criticism.

A lightly sprained ankle for starting center Jermaine O'Neal caused local sports talk radio hosts and callers to go into hysterics on Monday, rehashing the ill-fated swap that brought Green to Boston in exchange for starting center Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to Oklahoma City.

"Jeff is still getting acclimated, and [president] Danny [Ainge] and I still believe he will be a key piece for us," Rivers said.

During the portion of practice open to the media, Green dribbled the ball off of his foot, missed three three-pointers, was late on two defensive assignments and appeared to frustrate aging forward Kevin Garnett, who was seen shaking his head sadly rather than barking instructions like usual.

When pressed, Rivers said that the eventual solution to what he called Green's "learning curve issues" will have to come from All-Star starting point guard Rajon Rondo.

"Rondo gets him wide open jumpers, wide open lay-ups, makes 10 plays a game defensively, and he leads by example," Rivers said. "But I have eyes, you have eyes. You can see it. It's clearly not enough. We're looking for Rondo to keep leading and to do even more, to carry all of us. [But] especially Jeff."

Pausing for a moment, Rivers, to the surprise of the media present, chose to vividly underscore his previous point.

"I don't care if Rondo dislocates both of his elbows at the same time so his arms are hanging off of his body backwards, he will need to carry Jeff."

Asked to respond to Rivers' comments, Rondo stared ahead blankly, as always.

4. Greg Oden No-Shows At Day One Of Blazers Camp

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Once again, the gym is full of NBA players and hopefuls.  Once again, the biggest one among them is missing.

The Portland Trail Blazers opened training camp to the media for the first time on Monday, only to reveal that center Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, was nowhere to be found. Oden, who signed a 5-year, $70 million extension during the early-October free agency period, has played just 82 games in his 4-year NBA career and has rarely been available to the media since suffering his most recent in Nov. 2010.

Through a spokesperson, Blazers president Larry Miller refused to comment about Oden's status, leaving new GM Brandon Roy -- who was promoted to the position after Miller used the amnesty clause to rid the Blazers of the four years remaining on his contract -- to face the media scrutiny alone. Roy said the team would not rush its center back to the court, noting that Oden's recovery from microfracture knee surgery was still "on schedule," although he did not divulge further specifics.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan looked irritated by the questions. "I've got 18 guys here fighting hard to grab one of our roster spots, let's talk about them," McMillan said.

Mike Conley, Sr., Oden's agent, offered a possible explanation by email. "Rehabilitation has kept Greg off the court for almost a year. During that time, in addition to completing a multi-disciplinary strength and flexibility training program, Greg has worked hard on improving and honing his invisibility. I'm pleased to hear that his work has evidently paid off. How many 7-footers do you know that can literally disappear in the blink of an eye? We feel this will make him even more valuable in the years to come."

Oden's whereabouts are not currently known at this time. His status for Portland's season opener is also up in the air.

"We'll just have to see," said McMillan.

Or not.

5. Kings Guard Completes First Pass

SACRAMENTO -- Kings coach Paul Westphal couldn't help but beam. After all, he had just witnessed an important milestone for his young team.

"I've been preaching unselfishness and ball movement all week and it was great to finally see these guys take that message to heart and execute it," Westphal said, his shirt soaked with sweat.

After back-to-back-back two-a-day practices and a morning session that yielded no progress, Jimmer Fredette became the team's first guard to complete a pass during scrimmage play on Thursday night. Prior to the pass, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and free agent signing Jamal Crawford had each managed to take a shot, draw a foul or commit a turnover on all of their possessions. Meanwhile, rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas, arguably the team's best playmaker on paper, left the practice facility on Tuesday after being frozen out for 263 straight trips up the court and hasn't been heard from since. A team official assured CBSSports.com that the organization is "not alarmed."

Fredette's pass occurred when he inadvertently took the ball out of bounds following a made basket by Evans. Looking confused, and with no other option other than committing a five-second violation, Fredette reluctantly inbounded the ball to Thornton, who promptly dribbled coast-to-coast, only to have his running lay-up attempt swatted out of bounds by center DeMarcus Cousins. Westphal shouted encouragement -- "That's what I'm talking about!" -- and blew his whistle, briefly stopping practice to single out Fredette for praise.

"It was nothing, really," Fredette said, afterwards, looking a touch sheepish.

6. Adelman Closes Practices To Timberwolves Executives

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Two hours after a minor shouting match erupted between Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and president David Kahn on Monday, the two men pledged publicly that they had put the matter behind them.

"Direct communication is integral to creating a winning atmosphere," Kahn told a group of reporters on Monday afternoon. "Rick and I exchanged ideas, as we often do, and we were able to come to a resolution that is amenable to both parties. We thank you for your interest but this matter has been resolved. We look forward to a successful year."

The dispute, two league sources said, began when Adelman chided Kahn for openly cheering for rookie point guard Ricky Rubio, while wearing a Rubio jersey, in front of the entire team. That exchange escalated when Adelman decided to play veteran Luke Ridnour with the starting unit, instead of Rubio, prompting Kahn to yell loudly, "Come on!" 

According to the sources, Adelman then threatened to quit on the spot, issuing a "you go or I go" ultimatum just weeks after formally accepting the position and signing a 4-year contract.

"This is my team and I make the coaching decisions," Adelman told reporters bluntly after practice. "That's it. Any other questions?"

The resolution, according to sources, will keep Kahn and other team executives off the practice court for the rest of training camp, although indications are that Kahn and Adelman have agreed to revisit the matter once the regular season begins.

Rubio, who competed for the Spanish national team at this summer's EuroBasket tournament, finished Monday's scrimmage with 0 points and two assists in 37 minutes.

7. Thibodeau Thanks Fans, Admits They Could Be Right

CHICAGO -- The Bulls held an intra-squad scrimmage at the United Center on Friday, allowing fans and season ticket holders the rare opportunity to watch the team go through its paces free of charge.

NBA MVP Derrick Rose drew the loudest cheers and the longest line of pre-game admirers, Luol Deng pledged $10,000 to charity at halftime, and new free agent signing J.R. Smith, who bought his own way out of a one-year contract he signed to play in China, autographed a diehard fan's neck with a tattoo gun. But the clear highlight of the festivities came when the NBA's reigning Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau, took a microphone at center court just before tipoff to thank Bulls fans for their loyal support during the team's run to the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.

"You guys are the best fans in the league," Thibodeau said, to wild applause. "We hear you loud and clear every night. You give us a true home court advantage and we, all of us, from me to the players, appreciate it."

Seemingly overwhelmed by the extended standing ovation he received, Thibodeau shuffled quickly to the sideline before catching himself and returning to the microphone to offer a final thought.

"Just to let you know," the defensive mastermind continued, "We also hear you loud and clear about Carlos Boozer."

The simple mention of the power forward's name elicited instinctive and ravenous booing from the fans, who were in no mood to forgive Boozer's disappointing showing in the 2011 NBA Playoffs and the team's controversial decision not to use the Amnesty Clause to shed his massive contract during free agency.

"Yes, we've received thousands of letters, text messages, phone calls and emails. For the sanity of Illinois' hard-working postal workers, please stop sending them. We understand that you think he is soft, that he isn't good enough to be a No. 2 guy, and that he isn't clutch enough to put us over the top against Miami."

Here, the second-year head coach drew a breath and exhaled, the long, lonely nights in his office preparing schemes and reading the fan correspondence clearly weighing upon his heart.

"Look, you're probably right about all of it. But how the hell are we going to trade him?"

Boozer, who mysteriously broke his hand for the second consecutive offseason, was not medically cleared to play in the scrimmage and was not available to provide a statement. Nobody noticed or cared.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 9:24 am
 

Kings F Omri Casspi shops for a new team

Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi says he is ready for a change of scenery. Posted by Ben Golliver. omri-casspi

The only thing more demoralizing than riding the pine while your team goes 22-54 is the thought that you could be stuck in the same spot next season. 

That's where Kings forward Omri Casspi finds himself as the clock winds down on Sacramento's season. Casspi's minutes and shots are slightly down this season, his second year in the NBA, and he's not sure how or where he fits into Kings coach Paul Westphal's plans.

News10.net reports that Casspi, the first Israeli ever to play in the NBA, expressed frustrations with his current situation in an Israeli publication, stopping just short of publicly demanding a trade.
"I know that there are many teams, including some playoff teams, that want me ahead of next season." Casspi wrote. "I hope to find myself in a team that appreciates me as a player and a person, a team that plays like a team. 
"I still don't know if I will definitely not be continuing with the Kings. I've got a contract and love the fans, the city, the owner and the general manager. But things haven't worked out and that is legitimate.
"Clearly the current situation is not ideal for the team and for me. There are other teams wich suit me better and since I have an excellent relationship with the players and the staff, I hope that they appreciate me enough to let me leave for a place where I can play basketball."
Casspi faces a very similar situation to what Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez dealt with in recent years. While he's stuck on Sacramento's bench and might not be a key cog in Westphal's rotation, he's a difficult piece for management to part with via trade. He's young (22 years old), he's shown toughness and flashes on offense, his best basketball is still ahead of him and, perhaps most importantly, he's locked into an affordable rookie deal that runs through 2012-2013 at least. Although he might not be receiving the A+ treatement from Westphal, he represents a highly-prized asset for management.

Even if Casspi wasn't planning for the cash-strapped Maloof family, most teams would look at Casspi's $1.3 million contract next season and think that he is a player worth retaining. Casspi averages 8.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 24 minutes this season. Is he capable of more if given a larger role? Sure, most bench players are. But patience is a virtue here: There's no guarantee Westphal will be around next season, let alone for the long haul. How many times have we seen a player's fortune change under a new coaching regime? Too many to count.

While Casspi is almost certainly correct in stating that many teams are interested in him, that doesn't necessarily mean they are willing or able to give the Kings equal value for his services. Indeed, trading away a player on his rookie deal is no easy task because teams are more likely to decide to wait and make things work rather than risk watching a cheap, young player blossom elsewhere.

Is Casspi stuck in Sacramento? Definitely not. But he'd do well to acknowledge the possibility that he could be there for awhile and to realize that his situation is likely not as bad as it seems right now.
Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:21 am
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:39 am
 

DeMarcus Cousins suspended by Kings

DeMarcus Cousins was suspended by the Kings late Saturday night following a locker room incident involving Donté Greene.
Posted by Matt Moore

DeMarcus Cousins is arguably already the league's most volatile player. Prone to fights with opponents and even his own coaches, it would seem his frustrations have now boiled over into conflict with teammates. FanHouse reports that Cousins has been suspended for at least the upcoming three-game roadtrip following a locker room altercation with Donté Greene that came to blows. Perhaps most stunning is the source of the argument. Cousins has reportedly become increasingly upset about Tyreke Evans' late game decision making and the coaching staff's reaction, culminating in Cousins yelling at Evans following the Kings' loss to the Thunder Saturday night, "from (the) tunnel to the locker room." 

Cousins has already been fined by the coaching staff, kicked out of practice, and benched for a premature choking gesture. In-between he's averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds, grabbing 17% of all available boards, shooting 44% from the field (a huge blemish) and has a league-average-ish PER of 15. He's a player with tremendous upside and ability, who just wants to win. But there are ways of dealing with that kind of passion, and Cousins has expressed all the wrong ones. 

The Kings have to find a structure to rebuild around, and if Cousins and Evans are incompatible, that's going to have to be established early. GM Geoff Petrie was right to act quickly and try and snuff this but furthermore, if the Kings decide Evans is the future and they can't rectify this rift, one of them will have to go. Furthermore, Paul Westphal and Petrie will have to figure out if the kid is worth the considerable headache he's providing them by continually being this much of a pain.  Good teams can't afford distractions of this magnitude, especially out of a rookie, let alone struggling squads like the Kings. 
Posted on: January 27, 2011 8:50 pm
 

Carl Landry misses Rick Adelman

Posted by Royce Young

When you lose, and lose a lot, players, coaches, fans and local media start saying things. And I'm not talking about nice, positive things necessarily.

So as is the case in Sacramento, a team that's been a solid disappointment at 10-33, players are saying things. In this circumstance, it's forward Carl Landry.

Landry, talking with the Sacramento Bee,
was elaborating about what worked with former coach Rick Adelman in Houston. As a result, he gave the Kings a bit of a backhand.
“We ran and everybody shared the ball,” he said, “and when we didn’t have anything on the break, we’d run pick and rolls. We won 22 straight games (in 2007-08) without Yao (Ming) and mostly without Tracy McGrady . We could do that here, but that’s not what we do, and you have to play the system the coach (Paul Westphal) wants.”
More Landry:
“The basketball IQ on this team is not very good,” Landry said, “and that (knowledge) takes time. If you look at J.T. (Thompson), he’s had three or four coaches in his four years, coaches that probably weren’t that good. Everybody in this league can play. But it’s about spacing, having the right guys on the floor, running the right play. Move the ball. Set back screens, down screens, and play together. Our shooting percentage is so low because everything is one-on-one.”
So take that Eric Mussellman and Reggie Theus.

Obviously Landry has a point, otherwise the Kings wouldn't struggle scoring (26th in offensive efficiency) and might be a bit better. What this shows though, is that Paul Westphal has all but lost his squad. He's already supposedly safe for the season (mainly because of his big contract) but the team just isn't buying into his system.

The Kings prefer to run (eighth in pace) but because of a number of different reasons, one being that they don't move the ball all that well, it's not working. The team has tried to anchor its offense around Tyreke Evans' ability to bail them out with penetration late in the shot clock, but that's not the best system.

Thing is though, players still have to play. In Houston, the players shared the ball. I'm sure Westphal isn't telling his guys to run but play selfishly. I imagine the system has a lot to do with producing unselfish play, but still, players can make plays.

It's never a good thing to lose and it just gets worse when players start telling you, rather candidly, why you're losing. That's what Landry's doing here and more than anything, it's another example of how Westphal is struggling with this young team.

Via Sactown Royalty
Posted on: December 24, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2010 5:08 pm
 

What went wrong with Westphal's Kings?

What's it going to take to move in another direction for the Kings?
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that both Geoff Petrie and Paul Wesphal are under significant fire in Sacramento, despite Joe Maloof denying the report, sticking by both his general manager and head coach for what he says is the remainder of the season.

The question is why wouldn't you ditch Westphal at this point?

It's not that the Kings have taken a step back, or failed to take a step forward. It's that they've plunged backwards so far they can't even see the dismal finish they suffered through last year. They've simply failed in every phrase of the game, and in addition they're having significant issues with personnel.

Tyreke Evans has regressed. Whether that's related to injury, personal issues, a move to shooting guard, or just a sophomore slump, it's significant and it's holding back the franchise. That the rest of the team seems to not trust or follow Evans is as much of a problem. But DeMarcus Cousins? That's a whole other matter.

Cousins has clashed with the coaching staff so often he's been fined for it. He's shopping for a suspension, and because of his attitude, there seems to be a general dissent regarding Cousins by the rest of the locker room. They find him obnoxious and far too immature. Which he is. But at some point, the coaching staff is going to have to reign him in and find a way to help him grow into a professional. That's part of their job. And as of now, Westphal and his staff have been nothing but Principal Skinners to Cousin's Bart Simpson. It's not working on any level.

So to recap, the team's not playing well. The rookie of the year has regressed significantly and the next great rookie is one stop short of spray-painting the locker room and toilet-papering Westphal's house. The question is not whether Westphal has failed. The question is what it's going to take to move in another direction for the Maloof's. Meanwhile, a bad situation gets worse.
Posted on: December 23, 2010 3:31 pm
 

Paul Westphal's seat could be getting hot

Posted by Royce Young

Nothing puts a coach's job in question quite like losing will. But when you combine that with rumors that he's "losing the team," well, then that's almost like getting the black spot.

That could be the situation for Kings coach Paul Westphal. Not only are the Kings playing miserable basketball at 5-21, but with the recent DeMarcus Cousins incident combined with the fact he may not be getting through to his players anymore, Westphal's days might be numbered. HoopsWorld reports that the Maloofs aren't pleased with the direction of the team on the floor and because of that, Westphal might be chopped soon.

Sources close to the situation say that Westphal has “all but lost his team” as well as the confidence of the (co-owning brothers the) Maloofs. Players, who expected improvement this season, believe that Westphal’s rotations and actions have made it nearly impossible for the young team to find success.

Behind closed doors, the players have questioned his philosophy and decision making throughout the season and only see things getting worse the longer he is on the bench.

The problem for the Kings in firing Westphal is that he's still owed over $2 million for this season and next. Sam Amick of Fanhouse confirmed via Twitter that HoopsWorld's report has a lot of truth to it, but mentioned the money issue as well.

How far Westphal has fallen. Last season when the Kings started off well and hovered near .500 for the first half of the season, some were calling him Coach of the Year material. Now the team has fallen apart, largely because of Tyreke Evans battling some injuries and also because of a dysfunctional roster, so Westphal might get the axe.

But as soon as a coach starts losing the ability to get through to players - especially young ones - management has no choice but to start anew. That might not be happening in Sacramento in the immediate future, but if the Kings don't start playing better, something will happen.
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 22, 2010 7:41 pm
 

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

Posted by Royce Young

Before the draft, most agreed: DeMarcus Cousins was the most gifted player in the draft. The hangup? His head. Scouts and general managers all over wondered if he was simply immature or if he had the potential to be one of the league's newest head cases.

So far, it's looking like the latter.

Against the Warriors Tuesday night with the Kings (who are 5-21, mind you) holding a five-point lead with about 20 seconds left, Golden State's Reggie Williams missed a free throw. Cousins walked off his low block position, put his hand to his throat and made a pretty clear choking gesture directed at Williams.



What happened next is what made this kind of a big deal. The Kings ended up the chokers, blowing the lead capped by a Vladamir Radmanovic 3-pointer to send the game to overtime where naturally, Sacramento lost.

According to the Sac Bee's Jason Jones, Kings coach Paul Westphal said Cousins has been fined and benched until he grows up and acts more "professional."

"It’s unprofessional, childish, embarrassing and it won’t be tolerated," Westphal told reporters.

Cousins, on the gesture: "It was immature. I was caught up in the game and let my emotions get the best of me and shouldn’t have done it. But if I would have did it and we won it probably wouldn’t have had the same consequences afterward. "

Cousins obviously has some stuff to learn. He's been criticized a bit this season already for being lazy and has been kicked out of a few practices for different issues. However, a benching and a fine for a clearly silly gesture seems a bit extreme. Cousins said he doesn't think he would've been punished had the Kings won. He's probably right, because nobody would've really taken notice.

But at the same time, Cousins is walking down a path of being a problem player and Westphal is trying to teach his young big man a lesson. My problem here is, is that message getting through? Because to me, it doesn't look like Westphal has any idea how to get through to Cousins. To me, it seems like everything is bouncing off.

I'm sure Westphal got the attention of Cousins for this, but what happens when Cousins really screws up? What does he get then? A month suspension? A $500,000 fine? Because for this little thing, Cousins has been hit with a stiff penalty. From here on, anything Cousins does will require an even bigger penalty. Is that the best way to get the most out of an immature player? Probably not.

Westphal is citing sportsmanship and professionalism in regards to the punishment. He's right. It was stupid for Cousins to do. He should be embarrassed. And when the Kings visit Oracle Arena, Warrior fans are going to punish him even more. Was what Cousins did stupid? Absolutely. Is it something he derserved a strong talking to for, possibly with bad language littered in? Definitely. But benched and fined for it? That's a bit, well, over-the-top it seems.

But the whole point of this shouldn't be about PR or making yourself look like you're in control. It has to be about what's best for your young player. It has to be about developing both his talent and his head. Does Westphal's punishment do that? I don't think so at all. He's probably not reaching Cousins at all here. Just making the gap even wider.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 9:44 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:06 pm
 

DeMarcus Cousins kicked out of Kings practice

Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was kicked out of practice by coach Paul Westphal on Monday. Posted by Ben Golliverdemarcus-cousins The Sacramento Bee reported on Twitter that Kings rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins, a highly-talented but polarizing one-and-done out of Kentucky, "was kicked out of practice" on Monday by head coach Paul Westphal, but that Westphal "didn't elaborate as to why." AOL Fanhouse reported that Cousins is "not happy and it's showing. Source close to team says he had numerous arguments with Westphal today at practice that led to booting." There's plenty of cause for consternation for Westphal, as the Kings are in last place in the Pacific Division, have lost 10 of their last 11 games and calls for his job by fans have already begun. He's tasked with trying to figure out why reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans has seemingly taken a half-step back this season, and he's trying to shake up his starting lineup by inserting Jason Thompson for Carl Landry. At a time like that, impatience with the slightest bit of insubordination is understandable. The stakes are pretty high and the entire environment feels tenuous. For Cousins, his playing time has been up and down, and he played just 15 minutes in a Saturday loss to the Chicago Bulls. He entered the NBA with the perception that he had a shot at averaging a double-double and contending for Rookie of the Year honors. He was said to be a potential franchise big man in the short-term, but so far he's averaging just 10.3 points and 6.7 minutes, coming off the bench more than starting. He's also been involved in a few minor team discipline issues and was assessed a fine in the first quarter of the season.  Almost certainly, more minutes will ease Cousins' frustration. Winning a bit more would help too, but it's a lot easier for rookies to handle losing while playing than losing while watching. The question here is whether Cousins can do and say the right things for long enough to convince his coach that he deserves the burn. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com