Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will reportedly sign the max extension the team has discussed with him and his agents, according to James Ham of CSN Bay Area.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported last Saturday that Sacramento was willing to offer its talented but temperamental superstar a sizeable deal to remain with the Kings, but Cousins’ desire to sign was unclear. Under the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), Cousins is eligible for the designated player exception; Cousins’ current team can offer him five years on top of his existing deal (signed a four-year, $62 million extension in Sept. 2013) and use 35 percent of its cap space (roughly $102 million) on him.
Sources tell Ham that “barring a late” change, “Boogie” stands to sign an extension worth roughly $207 million through the 2022-23 season. However, both sides would have to wait until July 1, 2017, to finalize the pact which is when the new CBA kicks in.
Cousins, 26, is having the best season of his career. In 36 games, he is averaging 28.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. The Kentucky product is on a short list of possible most valuable player (MVP) candidates with the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kevin Durant.
However, the two-time All-Star has also found himself at the forefront of controversy on and off the court. On December 21, 2016, Cousins was fined $50,000 for verbally berating columnist Andy Furillo in the Kings locker room. On the court, he has racked up 12 technical fouls, most recently for fighting a chair.
Still, the Kings believe Cousins is worth the investment. It’s also a far cry from October 2015 when Cousins questioned the extension Tristan Thompson signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers worth $82 million over five years.
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) October 21, 2015
Now, Cousins is poised to become one of the NBA’s highest-paid players.
Trade rumors have followed Cousins the last several seasons as the Kings have not been in playoff contention or able to lure big-name free agents to California. The team’s last postseason appearance came during the 2005-06 season where it was eliminated in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
The Kings have not made it out of the first round since 2003-04 and has not raised a championship banner since the 1950-51 campaign.
Despite that, in a recent interview with NBA TV, Cousins expressed his interest to remain in Sacramento long-term.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 5, 2017
“If you would ask me, I think my jersey will be hanging in the rafters when I retire in Sacramento,” Cousins said. “So not really a concern of mine. My only concern is winning games every night and pushing this team to the next level.”
That attitude has helped the Kings enter playoff contention, as, despite a losing record (16-22), the team is tied with the Portland Trail Blazers (17-23) for the eighth and final postseason slot.
The Kings have dealt with a lot of drama in recent months; former head coach George Karl has made headlines with leaked excerpts from his new book, Cousins’ trade rumors, and Rudy Gay publicly questioning how the team has dealt with trade rumors.
However, Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac said in October that the team is focused on competing this season.
“We’re thinking Rudy’s a big part of this team to be successful, so we have decided to go with him, and if he decides to stay next year, that’s great, and if he decides to leave that’s fine, but we want to make sure we compete this year,” Divac said (via ESPN).
Whether Gay is in Sacramento or not, Cousins is clearly the piece the Kings will build around for the foreseeable future.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]