Kings sign DeMarcus Cousins to 4-year extension

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm •  Published: September 30, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Vivek Ranadive has made a fortune in the software industry by betting on the right people.

The new owner of the Sacramento Kings is now betting big on DeMarcus Cousins.

The Kings signed Cousins to a four-year maximum contract extension worth a reported $62 million Monday, saying the 23-year-old center is the foundation the franchise will build on to lead a struggling team into a new era.

Sacramento hasn't had a winning season since 2006, but the new Kings management is comfortable investing in a player considered one of the NBA's best young big men but who also has drawn multiple suspensions from both the team and the league for his behavior.

"From my perspective, it isn't really that much of a leap of faith," said Ranadive, whose purchase of the team from the Maloof family was approved by the NBA in May. "I'm just doing what I do in my business every day, just betting on the best. And he represents the best."

The fifth overall selection of the 2010 NBA draft, Cousins led the Kings last season with averages of 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals and also averaged 2.7 assists. He ranked ninth among the league's leading rebounders.

But the Kings once again finished among the worst teams in the Western Conference at 28-54, Sacramento's fifth consecutive season with fewer than 30 victories, and Cousins was reprimanded several times for his conduct.

The 6-foot-11 veteran said those problems are behind him and he accepts the accountability that comes with his lucrative new deal.

"I've got big shoulders, so I can handle that," Cousins said. "I consider myself a leader on this team, so I take all the responsibility that comes with it. I've had pressure from the beginning, so I don't have a problem with it. I was doing it in the beginning, so I definitely don't have a problem doing it now."

Cousins' tumultuous 2012-13 season was marked by several incidents during which his behavior and discipline came into question.

Cousins was suspended one game by the Kings on Dec. 22 for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team" after an incident involving then-coach Keith Smart in the locker room during a loss at the Los Angeles Clippers.

He was suspended by the NBA for one game without pay for striking O.J. Mayo in the groin during a loss at Dallas on Dec. 10. Following a loss at San Antonio on Nov. 9, the league suspended Cousins two games without pay for confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a "hostile manner."

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