|The Cousins volcano continues to erupt (Getty Images)|
On Dec. 21, Cousins got into an heated verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart. The result was Cousins being benched and not joining the team for the second half, instead staying in the locker room.
The next day, Cousins was suspended "indefinitely" by the team for conduct detrimental to the team.
Then the team reinstated him on Christmas Eve, making it just a two-game "indefinite" suspension. Then, two days later, despite being reinstated, Smart told Cousins not to travel with the team to Portland. Meanwhile, Cousins fired his agent and hired Dan Fegan, of "Dwightmare" fame, who has a bad relationship with GM Geoff Petrie.
Naturally, the trade rumors exploded.
USA Today reported that the confusion around the suspension and reinstatement centers on a disagreement between ownership and the coaching staff. Essentially, according to the report, the Maloofs, bastions of wisdom that they are, unilaterally overruled the coaching staff regarding Cousins' reinstatement. That's always going to create a great environment.
USA Today also reported that people inside the organization have very quietly begun exploring trade options, listing specifically the Washington Wizards as a potential trade partner. The report listed four other teams that could be lobbing calls for the big man:
The Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics have been among the teams that have shown interest in the past on gambling with the player who could become the most dominant big man in the game.
On Monday, Kentucky Sports Radio, with obvious and transparent ties to Cousins from his time in Lexington, reported on more potential trade partners:
Today KSR has spoken with a source close to Demarcus Cousins both that confirms trade talks are ongoing and Cousins is hoping a deal will be worked out soon. According to the source, the four teams that are most likely to end up making such a deal for cousins are Boston, Dallas, Orlando and Charlotte.
So to wrap up the list of interested parties: Washington, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Boston, Dallas, Orlando and Charlotte.
The Wizards are in such disarray that you have to think any move that could make John Wall better or breathe life in the team is a risk worth taking, especially as it would seem Randy Wittman has little chance of being retained as coach.
Denver needs help down low but likely would want more for any asset than the Kings are willing to give.
The Rockets want another star to go with Jeremy Lin and James Harden and have rookies to spare. That's one to keep an eye on.
And Boston is the most logical destination, where Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers could reach Cousins together, and he could find someone to identify with the mercurial Rajon Rondo.
Now, a lot of this is likely coming from Cousins' side, and it reeks of the same kind of process that was used to exert pressure on the Magic to trade Dwight Howard. But there clearly has been talk, and there are certainly offers coming in.
The Kings are trying to nip it in the bud to maintain leverage. From NBA.com:
Reached Monday morning, Petrie said Cousins is not on the block.
"You can put that one to rest," Petrie said. "He's not going anywhere. You can lay that to rest. Some of that stuff lives in its own reality."
Petrie said the return of Cousins to the team provided "resolution" to the shouting match with Smart.
"Everybody's moving forward," Petrie said. "He's still a young, developing player that's yet to reach his potential and is still a major piece of the future planning here. Everyone's committed to working with his development as a player and his overall growth. ... He's still an important part of the future. He's like a lot of people. Some have good days, and some days are better than others. We're going to continue to work with him to help him reach his potential, which is still very high."
This is in line with what we know of the Maloofs, who very much want to see Cousins as their cornerstone if they are able to move the team. What's infuriating is you can see the team being moved, Petrie being let go, a better GM brought in, the roster fixed and everything working out. Meanwhile, Cousins' teammates, who are clearly fed up with him according to everything read and reported, have to deal with this situation, as Smart finds himself powerless over his own roster.
So if you were wanting to get an understanding of what's going on with Cousins, here it is: Everything is really screwed up.
By the way, Cousins logged his first career triple-double in a win over the Celtics on Sunday.