Kissing Cousins Goodbye

Snakes

DeMarcus Cousins

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A Royal Fuck-Up

Teams like Sacramento confuse me.  How is it that a professional basketball team worth hundreds of millions of dollars can be so poorly managed?  The Kings’ decision making this off-season has been comically atrocious: their uncanny ability to make the worst possible choices given any scenario is simultaneously depressing and joy-inducing.  This is a team that is no stranger to bone-headedness, but this is something special.  For the Kings, 2015 projects to be an unprecedented year of idiocy and a new standard for dumb-assery.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing history in the making.

DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t deserve this shit.

Off De Marc

cousins

I wasn’t consulted when the decision was made to fire Mike Malone and I’m not being consulted now. I just hope they make a decision soon and stick with it.

– DeMarcus Cousins on the firing of Kings’ Head Coach Mike Malone

Chronic instability is a defining characteristic of a team with foundational issues; teams like the Charlotte Hornets, which shuffles its players and re-defines its’ play style at least once yearly, are not equipped to deal with more consistent teams like the San Antonio Spurs, which maintains coaching and roster continuity as part of a well-established system.

The Kings have mastered the art of crippling unpredictability: tumult can be found in every aspect of the Kings’ franchise, starting with their schizophrenic coaching decisions:

The general instability of the Kings franchise and its leadership is a turn-off as well. Since the 2005-2006 season, the Kings have employed eight different head coaches. With a shaky foundation to one of the most important parts of an organization, one that directly affects the product on the court, not many players would jump at the opportunity to commit somewhere where they could be stuck in limbo, playing for a coach or coaches they don’t get along with.

Austin Lee of the Sports Journal, Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Play for the Sacramento Kings?

At the beginning of the 2014-2015 year, the Kings were coached by former Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone.  After a promising start to the season, based on an offensive scheme that revolved around Cousins as the focal piece, DeMarcus was the happiest he had been while playing in Sacramento, and was putting up MVP caliber numbers to boot.

Some questioned whether Malone and Cousins could gel: Cousins is an offensive super-star whose passion sometimes gets the best of him out on the court, while Malone is a tough, straight-shooting, defensive coach with little patience for immature behavior.  After winning a gold medal with Team USA, Cousins was ready to demonstrate his vastly improved defensive chops as he assumed a leadership role on both sides of the court.  Cousins flourished under the new system, coming out of the gates with such dominance that he earned a spot on the Western Conference All-Star Team despite illness and his team’s poor record.

Then the Kings fired Coach Malone.

DeMarcus soon publicly made his opinion on the matter clear:

I don’t fire coaches or hire them. Everyone knows I liked and respected Coach Malone. I didn’t want that to happen. I’m not involved in any coaching decisions.

Enter George Karl.

Dim the stage lights.

Cue the Kings.

Cue the spotlight.

Lights, Camera, Crapshoot!

Karlsbad

Sorry, George Karl, but the correct answer was “No, I am not interested in trading DeMarcus Cousins.”

Better luck next time!

George Karl has a long and sordid history of slithering his way through the NBA landscape, whispering sweet nothings into the ears of GMs and players, tempting the weak-willed into buying his snake-oil.  Yet he still slithers through his NBA career, sinking his fangs into any organization unfortunate enough to hire him.

Karl should consider politics if this coaching thing doesn’t work out.

That Coach is Poison

snake

December 10th, 1996.  In the city of Seattle, a talented young player by the name of Kendall Gill sat sleeplessly on the edge of his bed.  His doctor told him that depression was the root cause of his insomnia: 4 long days and 4 long nights dragged by, and Gill had spent every moment awake.

Gill grew up in suburban Chicago with two loving parents.  While playing ball at the University of Illinois, he brought the team to the NCAA Finals in 1989.  In his senior season, Gill won the NCAA slam dunk competition, rounding out a stellar college career that would translate into an equally successful NBA career.  Now, playing for a Seattle team that would win 57 games that season, Gill’s mental state was deteriorating.  Why?

He was playing for Coach George Karl. Gill will tell you that Karl was the source of his sleepless nights during April 1995, that Karl was the reason he took a medical leave for five days that month.

”I was like, depression?” Gill said, sitting in the lobby of a team hotel on Friday during the Nets’ trip to Boston, quietly explaining the past. ”I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t feeling down and out. What I was, was furious. I felt that the next time I saw George, I was going to do something to him. That’s how I felt. That’s how furious I was.”

Selena Roberts, New York Times, Kendall Gill Left a Bad Reputation, and Depression, Behind in Seattle.

George Karl tortured Gill.  He poisoned the Gill’s reputation around the league: Teams would forever think twice about signing him, trading for him, or renewing a contract for him.  Rumors about Gill spread through the veins of the league like venom:  he’s self-motivated; he’s psychologically unstable; he’s a “basket-case.”  On his weekly radio show, Karl asserted that Gill was over-paid and spoiled: “He’s not totally happy with the circumstances, and we understand that. We may not be totally happy with the money we’re paying him.”

At the height of Karl’s torture, Gill took a week off on psychiatric medical leave:

What seemed to hurt Gill most was the league-wide perception he had suffered a nervous breakdown when the Sonics placed him on medical leave from April 4-11 during the ’95 season. Gill was diagnosed with clinical depression, but said the Sonics called it that only because “they had to call it something.”

Whether or not Gill actually suffered a nervous breakdown, Karl’s behavior was intolerable.  It was the ’95 – ’96 season when Gill took the medical leave, and George Karl was coaching his 5th season as an NBA Head Coach.   By this point, Karl had already alienated players across the league: World B. Free in Cleveland, Joe Barry Carroll at Golden State, Vincent Askew of the Nets, and a slew of other players.  After admitting wrong doing, Karl still couldn’t face Gill and apologize: Gill would later remark that Karl wouldn’t even make eye contact, “That’s how much of a coward he is.”

At the end of an interview with Michael James of the New York Daily News, Gill concluded with this damning indictment:

Judgment day will come and he’ll have to meet his maker. . . . All the characters he’s tried to destroy, he’ll have to pay for.

– Kendall Gill, No Love Lost Between Gill and Ex-Coach

When the Grass is Cut…

When the grass is cut, the snakes will show,
I gotta thank the little homie Nas for that though.
Saving me the hassle of speaking to half of these assholes,
And I’ma let karma catch up to Jaz-O, whoa.

– Jay Z, Blue Print 2.

In the 2010-2011 season, Carmelo Anthony left Denver Mile High and dry, deciding that it was time to head east to the Big City.  After a 7 month period of rumoring, whispering, and back-room patty-caking, Carmelo was appeased: an astoundingly complicated trade sent Carmelo to the Knicks.  Here is a list of the player involved, courtesy of KnicksBlogger’s post: MeloDrama Comes to an End, Anthony a Knick!

Knicks get:
G Chauncey Billups
G Anthony Carter
F Renaldo Balkman
F Carmelo Anthony
C Shelden Williams
Nuggets get:
G Raymond Felton
F Danilo Gallinari
F Wilson Chandler
C Timofey Mozgov
$3 million in cash
2014 first-round pick
2012 second-round pick (originally Warriors’ pick)
2013 second-round pick (originally Warriors’ pick)
Separate deal
In addition to Monday’s deal for Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks also moved three players in a trade with the Timberwolves.
Knicks get:
G/F Corey Brewer
Wolves get:
C Eddy Curry (expiring contract)
F Anthony Randolph
$3 million in cash

melo

The Carmelo-to-the-Knicks process is fondly remembered as ‘The MeloDrama’ by the NBA community: take it from this Denver Nuggets fan who refused to stay mellow, choosing instead to melodramatically respond to Melo’s drama:

As an avid Denver Nuggets follower, fan, ticket buyer, writer, and even jersey wearer, I was filled with disappointment when the deal went down. How could the star of our franchise quit on the team that gave him his start in the NBA? How could our All-Star forward drag Chauncey Billups to New York, ripping the basketball heart out of the city of Denver?

I just ripped two Carmelo posters off of my walls and pulled down my Anthony jerseys from the hangers in my closet. You know why.

– The Criterion, Melodrama Ends in the Knick of Time

George Karl was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets at the time, and he used the opportunity to take a few jabs at his former player on a TNT game broadcast:

I’m not knocking Melo. Melo’s a great offensive player.  Best offensive player I’ve ever coached; but, his defensive focus, the demand on himself, is what frustrated us more than anything.

grass cutReal classy, George.

Carmelo responded to Coach Karl’s snide comments with the infamous Jay-Z lyric that has defined Karl’s player relationships ever since.

Each subsequent time George Karl is dick to a player, twitter goes ablaze, affirming the fact that George Karl is, in fact, a snake.

The Anti-Boogie

The Kings never cease to amaze me: both in terms of coaching style and in terms of personnel fit, George Karl could not possibly be worse suited to coach a budding young super-star center, particularly if his name is DeMarcus Cousins.  The Kings are prodigiously inept – I could not have possibly made a worse personnel choice if I tried.

not the sameAfter Malone was fired without any warning, even to the franchise center whose skill-set was being utilized to its’ fullest potential, Assistant Coach Tyrone Corbin was installed as interim Head Coach of the team.  George Karl’s name was tossed around for a while, but Cousins’ agents made it clear that Karl would not be a good fit with Cousins: a fast-paced game would force Boogie into the bad habits on defense he had spent the off-season correcting: the Kings agreed.  Firing Malone despite a growing relationship with Cousins was a dangerous move, so the Kings management needed to be very careful in resigning a new head coach.  As a conciliatory gesture, the owner of the Kings, Vivek Ranadivé, let Cousins know that Malone’s replacement would be selected after the season concluded, and that he would be personally consulted during the decision making process.

….

wait for it.

….

28 games later, The Kings Hired George Karl.  Without consulting Cousins.  Without even sending him an email.  In the video below, he had only known that his team lied to him for a few minutes.

This is the moment when Cousin’s departure from Sacramento became etched in stone.

How Are You Gonna Stop God?

Nah I ain’t pumped up. I just got a lot on my mind. And the crazy thing about it … I just got a question for y’all. How are you gonna stop God’s plan? How are you gonna do that? How are you gonna do that, that’s what I want to know, how are you gonna stop God’s plan? Man this city done put me through so much, and I stayed loyal to it the whole time. Hey, I just wanna know how you gonna stop God’s plan? God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. The marathon continues. I’m out.

– DeMarcus Cousins on the George Karl situation.

Players on dysfunctional teams often find that they are scapegoated for mistakes made by the franchise.  DeMarcus Cousins is no stranger to this dynamic:

DeMarcus Cousins has a reputation as a thug.  DeMarcus Cousins is a soft-spoken and sensitive man.

DeMarcus Cousins has a reputation as an emotionally unpredictable liability.  DeMarcus Cousins is a passionate player on the court and an eloquent speaker off of it.

DeMarcus Cousins has a reputation that he’s a bully that throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.  DeMarcus Cousins is a mature and well-intentioned.

DeMarcus Cousins is a lover; not a fighter.

Why is it that some players who fight for every inch and compete as hard as humanly possible are labeled scrappy, and some players are labeled dirty?

As Ohio.com’s Jason Lloyd points out, Delly has a way of getting under players’ skin because he’s super intense, all game long.

Dellavedova has made it to the NBA because he works harder and plays harder than everyone else. One NBA talent evaluator told me last year Delly squeezes every ounce of talent he can out of his limited frame. He’s not a dirty player, but his style can aggravate guys.

3 Reasons Why Matthew Dellavedova is Not the Dirtiest Player In the NBA, Nick Dudukovich

Bruce Bowen had a famous habit of slipping his foot underneath a player as he went up for a jump shot. That’s about the worst thing a player can possibly do.

Landing on top of feet has destroyed seasons and careers; it’s really nothing to be toyed with. You do that a few times and opposing players have it in their heads. When you’re worried about coming down on someone’s foot, you’re worried about coming down wrong. When you’re worried about coming down wrong, it affects your shot.

Bowen was a great defender apart from his dirty tactics, but there’s a big difference between “tough” dirty and “malicious” dirty, and the San Antonio Spurs’ stopper was the latter.

Threatening someone’s career is just morally wrong, and there is no justification.

The 10 Dirtiest Players in NBA History, Kelly Scaletta

Why is DeMarcus the bad guy?

An article on www.thesportster.com details the 25 dirtiest players in NBA history.  3 of them are not like the others.

The players are Bill Lambier, Danny Ainge and Christian Laettner.

Give up?

They’re white.

In this Sports Illustrated Poll, 2 out 15 of the players are white.

In this Sports on Earth Poll, none of the 10 players are white.

Mike Dunleavy Syndrome is the subconscious application of adjectives like ‘scrappy,’ or ‘high energy’ to the white equivalent of a black player described as ‘dirty,’ ‘thuggish,’ or ‘overly physical.’

2 weeks ago, 6 black churches were burnt to the ground.

The week before, 9 black church-goers were shot in cold-blood by a white supremacist whose plans were never taken seriously by his classmate, because ‘that’s just how people joke around in the south:’

“They were just racist slurs in a sense,” he said. “He would say it just as a joke. … I never took it seriously, but now that he shed his other side, so maybe they should have been taken more seriously.”

Dylann Roof Says He Almost Backed Out Because Everyone at Church was So Nice – John Mullin.

All symptoms of a throbbing sense of division between me and you, you and him, us and they, they and them.

Digest the name of that article and what it means.  This man was not a psychopath, nor was he criminally insane.  This is a man who wrote a manifesto, who grew up in a culture that loathed minorities, who dreamed for years of starting a race war; Dylann Roof wasn’t an accident.

Dylann Roof was a symptom.

Is this about guns?  Were those men and women targeted because they didn’t carry fire-arms?

Maybe the shooting was an attack on the Christian faith?  It could be a coincidence that all 9 murder victims were black.

The shooting was not a statement about guns, nor was it a statement about faith.  It wasn’t about chasing fame on television news, and it wasn’t about mental illness.

We live in a country where 9 people were killed because of the color of their skin.  It’s not a joke.

I’m not asking you not to be the shooter.  You know that murdering is wrong.  I’m asking you not to be the roommate who assumed he wasn’t serious.

I’m asking you not to be the classmate who laughs along after his racist joke.

I’m asking you not to be part of the awkward silence after he expresses hateful beliefs.

I’m not asking you not to be the disease.  I’m asking you not to be the symptom.

and I’m asking you not to call DeMarcus Cousins a thug.

The marathon continues.

I’m out.

the prophet