Morning Shootaround

DeMarcus Cousins unsure of reception he'll receive in Sacramento tonight

NBA.com Staff

* Tonight on TNT: Pelicans vs. Kings (10:30 ET)

Early in the offseason, DeMarcus Cousins made it known he couldn’t wait for his first game against his former team, the Sacramento Kings. Yesterday, we told you of Cousins having regrets about not leaving the Kings sooner in his career.

The big game Cousins has so anticipated for months is here and the All-Star big man is … unsure exactly how his former fans in Sacramento will greet him tonight. As his New Orleans Pelicans wrapped up yesterday’s practice, Cousins shared his thoughts on the looming game, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

“This is my first time being in the facility since everything went down,” said Cousins, who was traded to New Orleans in February. “I was here during the summer, but even with that I kind of stayed out the way. It’s just a weird feeling being back.”

After being assured multiple times by general manager Vlade Divac that he wouldn’t be traded and with a lucrative contract extension that would have paid in excess of $200 million on the table for the summer, the Kings dealt Cousins during the All-Star Game, which coincidentally was in New Orleans.

Cousins hasn’t spoken to Divac or anyone from the front office since the deal.

“I never heard from them,” Cousins said.

Even as Cousins proclaimed his loyalty to the team, Divac had signed one center (Kosta Koufos) and drafted two more (Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis).

In retrospect, Cousins regretted thinking with his heart and not his head back in 2015.

“I’ve got nothing but love for this city,” Cousins said. “I came here as a kid and grew into a man. I’ve built a lot of relationships, gained a lot of friends. I’ve got people here I call family. Nothing against the city, the fans, anything like that. That was more from a professional point of view, doing what was best for me. That was one of my regrets.”

“It’s two different worlds for me,” Cousins said. “I’m not here as a professional athlete anymore. I’ve still got mad love for the people. Those relationships still exist. Just because this ended doesn’t mean this relationship has – it’s two different worlds.”

Cousins has no idea how fans will greet him as a visiting player.

“I honestly don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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