At his introductory press conference, New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins said the Sacramento Kings’ “dishonesty” hurt him -- they had assured him that he wouldn’t be traded, and then they did it anyway. In an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Cousins elaborated on that, saying that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive had been asking him about potential acquisitions right before the All-Star break:

When did the Kings tell you that you wouldn’t be traded?

A week before the trade. The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent [Jarinn Akana]. We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and [he] told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.

I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand.

What would have been the correct way for the Kings to tell you about the trade?

Like a man. Like a professional. The more those guys talk, the more things come out. It’s just crazy. This ain’t something that happened in a few days. It has been discussed with more than one team. I just don’t understand.

Is there any part of you that wants to talk to Ranadive or Divac?

Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response. For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?

Things can change quickly in the NBA, but this? This is unusual. Cousins was the Kings’ franchise player. The general manager told him and his agent privately that he wouldn’t be traded, and he said the same thing to the media. Reports have indicated that the front office wanted to trade Cousins all along, but couldn’t convince Ranadive to get on the same page -- when he finally seemed open to it, Sacramento rushed to get something done before he changed his mind. This is not the way stable organizations operate, and the Kings’ disappointing return reflected the flawed process. 

Cousins is not blameless when it comes to Sacramento’s dysfunction during his tenure, but he has every right to be mad with how it all ended. The Kings bungled this, and he’s making sure that everybody knows it.