The Sacramento Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million, league sources confirmed late Thursday night.
The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million. The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.
The deadline for first-round draft picks from 2010 to agree to contract extensions is Oct. 31. If the Kings had not reached an agreement, they could not have signed Cousins until after this season.
Cousins was the fifth overall pick in 2010 after one season at Kentucky. He led the Kings in scoring and rebounding last season but also had run-ins with coaches, teammates and even television commentators that led to questions about his maturity and worthiness of a max deal.
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But new Kings ownership made it clear Cousins was the cornerstone of the franchise. After closing the deal to purchase the Kings, principal owner Vivek Ranadive's first call was to Cousins, and he said building around him would be a priority. General Manager Pete D'Alessandro has asked for Cousins' input on personnel, and Cousins has been in Sacramento working with the new coaching staff and teammates in preparation for next month's training camp.
Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, slightly down from the 18.1 points and 11 rebounds in his second season.
Cousins was one of eight NBA players to average at least 17 points and nine rebounds last season. Dwight Howard, Al Horford, David Lee, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love were the others. At 23, Cousins is the youngest in the group, and he and Jefferson are the only two who have not made an All-Star team.
There was never a question whether Cousins' talents merited an extension, but his problems with the league, coaches and teammates made critics question whether a new contract would make him more of a problem. Cousins was suspended three times last season, including once by the team, and he led the NBA in technical fouls.
He fired his agent, John Greig, last December and hired Dan Fegan, who represents Howard and John Wall, in his effort to land an extension.