Many eyes are focused squarely on DeMarcus Cousins during USA Basketball practices this week as his attitude and maturity are examined. The Kings' talented but often embattled center will have his interactions with national team coaches and teammates scrutinized. The Kings particularly will be closely watching their best player because they plan to start contract talks with him soon.
Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes the Kings will be meeting with Cousins' agent, Dan Fegan, in the near future about a possible new contract.
From the Bee:
Cousins is eligible for a contract extension that could net him about $80 million over five years. Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro believes this week's environment will only help Cousins improve. "I think to put a young player in this situation with this level of talent, I think that's a contagious thing and that's a thing you want your young guys around," D'Alessandro said. "… I think great players, they want to be around great players. And that's what DeMarcus aspires to be as well."
Cousins isn't new to the environment surrounding the national team. He was on the select team that practiced against the national team last summer before the Olympics.
While the experience appeared to rub off on Cousins, it wasn't entirely positive. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo was quoted saying the 22-year-old still needed to mature. Colangelo and Cousins both said the "maturity" angle was blown out of proportion, and there's been no mention of maturity issues coming from Team USA camp this week.
From the Bee:
"I think Cousins came in with a very good attitude," Colangelo said. "He worked very hard, his work ethic was great. So he just has to continue to mature and grow as a player, and we'll make those decisions in the near future."