By Ben Golliver
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins earned his third suspension of the 2012-13 season on Saturday, but this time it was his team, and not the NBA league office, doling out the punishment.
Sacramento GM Geoff Petrie announced in a statement that Cousins has been suspended indefinitely for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team."
The third-year big man had a verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart during halftime of the Kings' loss at the Clippers on Friday and was left in the locker room for the entire second half as a result. Two people with knowledge of the incident told USA TODAY Sports that nothing of a physical nature occurred between Cousins and his coach and that the yelling went back and forth between both men. Cousins, according to one of the people, used extensive profanity while sharing his latest frustrations.
The Sacramento Bee reported further details.
"It’s not something that just showed up yesterday, last year or two years ago or five years ago," [Petrie] said. "But he’s our player so we want to work with him to get past this so he can be what everyone sees is possible."
Cousins has alienated teammates with his verbal tirades to the point players give him the ball rather than feel his wrath.
It's not yet known how many games Cousins will miss during this suspension. The Kings have three games on the schedule for this upcoming week: they the Blazers on Sunday, visit Portland on Wednesday, and then host the Knicks on Friday.
Earlier this week, it was reported that members of the Kings were growing frustrated with Smart. The Point Forward's Rob Mahoney explored the dissatisfaction here.
Cousins was previously suspended two games by the NBA in November for a post-game verbal confrontation with Spurs color commentator Sean Elliott. Earlier this month, he earned a one-game suspension for a low-blow on Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo.
During his career with the Kings, Cousins has been benched for flashing a “choking” sign to an opponent; thrown off the team plane after a dispute with a teammate; and fined by the organization for undisclosed reasons. He also reportedly argued with former coach Paul Westphal, which led to rumors of a possible trade request. Over the summer, Cousins participated in USA Basketball’s Select training program. Chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporters in July that Cousins “has some growing up to do” and that he “needs to mature as a person.” He also recently claimed that an NBA referee cursed at him during an on-court exchange. Cousins, 22, is averaging 16.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He is making $3.9 million.