Former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins on not leaving Sacramento sooner: 'I was a fool'
Cousins said he should have left the Kings when George Karl became coach
DeMarcus Cousins' tenure with the Sacramento Kings with fraught with tension and drama. Nearly every season it seemed the team was on the verge of trading him, but it didn't happen until last season's All-Star break, when the Kings shipped him to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now in his first full season with the Pels, Cousins is set to make his return to Sacramento Thursday night. It will be a national TV affair, with the game set to be broadcast on TNT. Ahead of his big return, he sat down with ESPN's Marc J. Spears to talk about his time with the Kings.
Opening up about the situation, he reflected that he was a "fool" for sticking it out in Sacramento for as long as he did. He also noted that he's excited to go back to Sacramento to see the fans again, but is not treating it as any sort of revenge game.
The full exchange:
Spears: When you look back what do you look at where you say, 'I could have handled that better?'
Cousins: My biggest regret is why didn't I leave when I had the chance?
Spears: When did you have the chance?
Cousins: I had the chance. But I fought.
Spears: Like how long earlier?
Cousins: When George Karl came.
Spears: Why did you fight him?
Cousins: I wanted to give it a chance. My representatives they told me I shouldn't stay, but being, I guess you could stay stubborn and "loyal," I wanted to make things work.
Spears: How do you look back on that situation with George?
Cousins: I should have left when I had the chance and avoided it all, cause they told me what would happen. All last year I felt like that's all it was about. 'I got traded.' And 'He hates Sacramento.' I kinda fed into it. At the end of the day, it's a business. I kinda blame myself for even putting myself at this point. Like, you knew coming in it's just a business. How you gonna be loyal to something that ain't loyal to any player that's ever played this game. I was a fool.
Spears: You circled that game, going back to Sacramento, still pretty excited to play that game?
Cousins: I'm excited to play in front of the fans and see their reactions, but as far as it being a revenge game, I'm past it. I'm in a good place, I'm happy where I'm at. We got a chance to win, we playing for something. I'm good.
This, finally, is Cousins admitting what others have believed for so long. Of course it's easy to say so now, but even in his last few seasons, it was clear the marriage between Cousins and Sacramento just wasn't working, and likely never would. Credit to him for trying to be loyal and making a go of it, but between Cousins' attitude on the floor and the Kings' general dysfunction as a franchise, the relationship was always going to lead to trouble.
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