DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings’ top scorer and rebounder, was suspended indefinitely for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team,” said Geoff Petrie, president of basketball operations.
Cousins, 22, is averaging team-high 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in his third year with the Kings.
He was benched two nights ago after a verbal altercation in the locker room at halftime with coach Keith Smart. The Kings went on to lose 97-85 to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
“What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, but I was wrong, I was wrong,” Cousins told reporters after the game. “I shouldn’t have responded back. Something was said, and I just should have stayed quiet.”
The National Basketball Association suspended Cousins one game without pay for hitting Dallas Mavericks’ O.J. Mayo on Dec. 10. He also was suspended by the league for two games without pay for a hostile confrontation with San Antonio Spurs announcer Sean Elliott after the Kings’ Nov. 9 loss.
“We’re trying to set a standard here, and when guys move below that standard, things are going to take place,” Smart told reporters. “We’ll just move on to the next game and I’ll make some decisions from there.”
The Kings are 8-18 for last place in the five-team Western Conference’s Pacific Division, 12 games behind the Clippers.
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