Ex-Cats

Divac doesn’t fire back after Cousins calls him, Kings owner ‘cowards’

'One down, 24 to go.' Cauley-Stein pushing Kings toward playoffs

As the Sacramento Kings make their push for the eighth playoff spot, Willie Cauley-Stein reflects on the Kings' first win against the Denver Nuggets since DeMarcus Cousins was traded. Thursday, February 23, 2017.
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As the Sacramento Kings make their push for the eighth playoff spot, Willie Cauley-Stein reflects on the Kings' first win against the Denver Nuggets since DeMarcus Cousins was traded. Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Kings General Manager Vlade Divac refuted some of the details but refused to engage former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins in a nasty public debate after the All-Star center called Divac and Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive “cowards” for their handling of his trade to the New Orleans Pelicans.

In an article published early Friday on theundefeated.com, Cousins told the website’s senior NBA writer Marc Spears that he was assured by Kings officials three weeks earlier that he would not be traded.

“The sick part about it is that Vlade came to my house with my agent (Jarinn Akana),” Cousins said. “We sat in the theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and he told me what moves he wants to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand. I got a text from the owner right before I went to the All-Star Game. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him, and making a move. The owner! When (the trade) happened, I was just in shock. I just didn’t understand.”

Following his New Orleans debut Thursday night against Houston, Cousins was asked whether he has communicated with Kings officials since Sunday’s trade that sent Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two first-round draft choices to the Kings was finalized on Monday, the seven-year veteran replied, “Nah, for what? It was a cowardly move, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get a cowardly response … Act like a man, like a professional. It was just crazy.”

Reached in his office in the Kings’ practice facility on Friday, Divac said he had no plans to trade the team’s longest-tenured player until talks with the Pelicans heated up about four days before the All-Star Game.

“We didn’t have anything going until then, no other team showed any real interest or offered anything that made sense,” Divac explained. “DeMarcus was going to be with us, and we would deal with his (contract) situation this summer. It all happened very fast, when the whole approach changed. Then when I told his agents we were suddenly having serious discussions (with the Pelicans), he started called people around the league, saying DeMarcus could not sign an extension if he got traded. They got scared. So I decided not to share anything with the agents (Dan Fegan and Akana) anymore. They were protecting their client, but I had to protect my organization.”

“And look,” Divac continued. “I trust DeMarcus, what he feels, how he feels. It’s hard to get traded. I believe he is a very talented kid, but I felt it would not work out here for us.”

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