"I talk to management a lot," Cousins told ESPN.com. "We're on the same page. I'm not worried about it.
"To know that you're wanted throughout the league ... I'd be worried if nobody wanted me. Then I'd have a situation on my hands. But I'm happy where I am. I'm happy with this team. I'm in a great place."
ESPN also reported that the Kings still don't want to move Cousins, even though he can be a free agent at the end of next season and his trade value could decrease when he's in a contract year. The Vertical's Chris Mannix's story comes to the same conclusion:
Officially, the Kings' position is simple: not interested. Sacramento opened a sparkling, $550 million arena this season and ownership -- specifically controlling owner Vivek Ranadive -- is hell-bent on ending it with a trip to the playoffs. And despite a circus-like atmosphere in recent years, Cousins has never demanded a trade, either. As one former teammate told The Vertical, "It's a mess there, but he sees it as his mess."
If Cousins' quote made you think about Stockholm syndrome, I can't blame you. He is in his seventh year in Sacramento and playing for his sixth coach. He has never won more than 33 games in a season, let alone made the playoffs. In an August feature by Zach Harper, a league executive told CBS Sports that the Kings were "fooling themselves if they think he's sticking around." Plenty of people around the league believe that, when Cousins is given an opportunity to go to a more stable situation, he will take it.
In some ways, Sacramento's situation is straightforward. It has a superstar under contract and he's saying all the things the front office wants to hear. He's frustrated with losing, of course, but so is everybody else involved. It has always been the team's responsibility to surround Cousins with players who complement his game and a coach who can get the most out of him. That should still be the primary goal.
Nothing with the Kings is ever quite that simple, though, and you have to wonder what general manager Vlade Divac will be thinking if they are way out of the playoff race when February's trade deadline draws near. Trading Cousins and watching him become a top-5 player elsewhere would hurt, sure, but losing him for nothing would be disastrous, especially because Sacramento has failed to find other core players in the draft in recent years. Regardless of what Cousins says, the speculation about his future will continue until the Kings prove that they're headed in the right direction.