LAS VEGAS, NV - If DeMarcus Cousins had concerns about the Sacramento Kings management not caring about him before, the new era regime has more than made up for that.
Showing up in full force throughout Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, various members of the Kings brass, including coaches and ownership heads, were consistently present each day to watch their 22-year-old face of kingdom audition once again to represent his country.
Rewind just one year ago, where Cousins as a member of the U.S. Select team, competed against the U.S. National team, led by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. His role was to open the eyes of head coach Mike Krzyzewski and U.S. Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo with his tough, physical play to prepare Team USA for the London Olympics.
Only Cousins did so in front of teams throughout the NBA except for his own Sacramento team. Absent was then general manager Geoff Petrie and former head coach Keith Smart. The only members to check in with Cousins were the team's former owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, but did so only on the first day, conveniently in their Las Vegas home base.
A source close to Cousins told News10 on Wednesday that he felt zero support from the previous regime and it began in last year's minicamp. It was hard to explain why each participating player had representatives from each team to observe and support their player, while Cousins worked all alone.
Assistant General Manager Mike Bratz and Shareef Abdur-Rahim were present for the entire minicamp. Majority owner Vivek Ranadive stopped by to watch and visit with Cousins on Tuesday, and will return for Thursday's intrasquad scrimmage at Thomas and Mack Center.
Kings General Manager returned to Las Vegas on Wednesday to watch the final day of minicamp after returning from Indiana to observe a free agent workout with Greg Oden.
Among all of the attention the Kings are showering Cousins with comes with a little cynicism. Cousins' agent Dan Fegan and his representation are angling for a maximum contract extension. Although no formal negotiations have taken place, Ranadive, D'Alessandro and head coach Michael Malone - who also attended Wednesday's workout following two weeks in Las Vegas for NBA Summer League - have told them he's their priority.
Cousins publicly stated again on Monday that he wants to remain with the Kings and applauded the job D'Alessandro has done in a short time by drafting Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum, flipping Tyreke Evans for true point guard Greivis Vasquez, and signing Carl Landry and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency.
By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10.net