- You can make a strong argument that no NBA center has a wider array of offensive talent than Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins. You can also make a strong argument that no NBA player is more uncoachable. After a pair of investor groups – one from Sacramento, another from Seattle – made purchase presentations Wednesday before Commissioner David Stern, Cousins likely gave them a brief moment of pause with another extended display of his immature behavior. He snapped at coach Keith Smart after being pulled from Wednesday’s game, then did not start Saturday’s loss to Dallas, as outlined by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee: “The end of this season is beginning to feel a lot like the end of the Paul Westphal coaching era in Sacramento. There are obvious issues between center DeMarcus Cousins and coach Keith Smart, like there were with Cousins and Westphal. And just like the end of Westphal’s time before he was fired early in the 2011-12 season, Cousins found himself in an unusual spot Friday night – coming off the bench. Cousins played just nine minutes – all in the second quarter – of the Kings’ 117-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena. Cousins was benched for the first time this season when healthy and dressed for a game. In December, Smart left Cousins in Sacramento for a road game in Portland as part of a disciplinary action for a verbal altercation in Los Angeles. Smart offered no reason for benching Cousins and not playing him in the second half. “It was my decision,” Smart said. “A coach’s decision.”
UPDATE: Cousins was back in the starting lineup Sunday and was one of the few Kings to play well in an 89-87 loss to Memphis, making 9-of-15 shots and collecting team highs of 22 points and nine rebounds – which just makes him all the more infuriating.
- John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune has the details of another young star apparently rubbing his coach and team the wrong way – Hornets guard Eric Gordon, whose lack of commitment on the defensive end finally got the normally staid Monty Williams to lose his cool on a player in public for the first time in three seasons as coach. “Although he is the Hornets’ leading scorer with a 16.5 average with six games left in the regular season, the Hornets’ fan base continues to have a difficult time embracing Gordon, who was acquired in December 2011 in a blockbuster trade from the Los Angeles Clippers that involved former Hornets guard Chris Paul. A majority of fans in New Orleans have not forgotten the comments Gordon made last summer after he became a restricted free agent and agreed to a four-year, $58 million offer sheet with the Suns, which the Hornets matched even though Gordon said his “heart was in Phoenix.” The Hornets were unable to pull off a trade involving Gordon before the February trade deadline, but the franchise is still likely to remain open to trading him after this season ends, according to sources Saturday.”
- When you look up garish in the dictionary, there is a picture of Craig Sager.
- For the second time in three years, there has been a Hall of Fame screwup. In 2011, the Chicago Sun-Times incorrectly reported that Maurice Cheeks had been elected when he had not. This time was worse, as Spencer Haywood was incorrectly told he had made the Hall. Chris Tomasson of FoxSportsFlorida has the details: “Al Ross, who was Haywood’s agent in the early 1970s when he sued and won the right through the Supreme Court to enter the NBA as an underclassman, said Friday that Haywood told him he had been called and told he would make the Hall of Fame. However, Ross sent this email Saturday afternoon to FOX Sports Florida: “I just heard from Spencer that he has not been selected to the HOF after the NBA office contacted him to say that he was chosen,” Ross wrote about Haywood, who is a finalist for election. “This is a travesty, disgraceful and despicable. Whomever did not vote for him should be ashamed of themselves and be thrown off the committee. If Spencer asks me to follow up on his behalf I will get to every television and news media in the country and I will personally chastise the committee and it’s (sic) members.” In a phone conversation following the sending of the email, Ross said he didn’t know who might have called Haywood. Ross was informed the NBA does not deal with Hall of Fame candidates, Hall of Fame officials do. When asked if he believed it was a Hall of Fame or NBA official who contacted Haywood, Ross then said it was “one of them.”
- There has been plenty of speculation about coach Byron Scott’s future with the Cavaliers, which likely won’t stop after All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving declined to offer public support when given the chance by Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Asked whether he supports his embattled coach and would be disappointed if he were fired, Kyrie Irving said little about the topic before Sunday’s game at The Q. “Until that time comes I’m not really worried about it,” Irving said. “To even imagine that, I’m not going down that road. I’m focused on finishing the season with him and that’s all that matters right now.” It’s believed Scott still has the support of the Cavs’ best player despite a brutal stretch that saw them snap a season-high 10-game losing streak Friday in Boston.”
- Sam Amick of USA Today spoke with Dirk Nowitzki, who wants to finish his career with the Dallas Mavericks but does not want to go through another summer of patchwork free agency that produced this season’s squad, which likely will end a run of 12 straight trips to the postseason: “If the Mavericks’ imperfect-but-prudent plan to counteract the league’s harsh new collective bargaining agreement backfires because they aren’t able to land an impactful free agent this summer and return to the elite level during the twilight of Nowitzki’s career? Might Nowitzki — who will be a free agent in the summer of 2014 — considering retiring in a jersey other than the Mavs’ one he has always worn? “Now that I already reached my goal (of winning it all), I really want to finish my career in Dallas,” Nowitzki told USA TODAY Sports recently. “But saying all that, I don’t want another year next year with the same as this year, (with) the frustration and playing for the eight or nine seed. I think we all know that this is a very big summer for us. (Mavericks general manager) Donnie (Nelson) knows. Cuban knows. We want to get back to the championship level.”