The NBA announced Wednesday that Cousins has been suspended for one game without pay for "striking" Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo "in the groin area" during Dallas' 119-96 victory against Sacramento on Monday night.
After Monday's incident, which occurred as the two players jockeyed for position, Mayo accused Cousins of having "mental issues."
“That guy has mental issues, man,” Mayo said. “He’s a talented player, but he has the opportunity to be the face of that franchise, but I don’t think he wants it.
“He’s immature, man. Big maturity problem,” Mayo continued. “Hopefully he’ll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.”
Cousins, for his part, said that the groin punch was "unintentional" and dismissed Mayo's criticism in comments made to the Sacramento Bee.
"In slow motion, it looks like I did it on purpose," Cousins said. "But you look in real speed, you see what happened. Of course it's gonna get thrown out there that I did it on purpose."
Cousins said he swung backward to knock Mayo's hand away.
"I heard," Cousins said [of Mayo's criticism]. "This coming from a guy that doesn't have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? I'm fine with it."
Controversies, both real and puffed up, tend to follow Cousins everywhere he goes. In addition to his suspension for the argument with Elliott, Cousins also recently claimed that an NBA referee cursed at him during an on-court exchange.
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.” USA Today reported that Cousins was surprised by that characterization, calling it “messed up."
Cousins, 22, is averaging 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds this season. He is making $3.9 million. The suspension will cost Cousins roughly $35,000 in lost wages per NBA rules.