The Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins abruptly began to sever ties Sunday after the team said the promising young center demanded a trade.
Kings coach Paul Westphal released a statement before Sacramento hosted the New Orleans Hornets, criticizing Cousins' commitment to the franchise and excusing him from the team's game. He also confirmed that Cousins asked for a trade.
"Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction," Westphal said. "As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life! As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.
"Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public," Westphal continued. "This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.
"DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight."
When reached by phone, Cousins' agent, John Greig, said he wasn't informed of the Kings' decision until Westphal's announcement. He declined comment when asked if Cousins requested a trade.
"I have no idea what the Kings are doing," Greig said. "The fact that I'm just finding out about this announcement now speaks volumes about them."