DeMarcus Cousins is only 21 years old, so he most likely has the better part of the next decade to prove that his attitude isn't as poisonous as many people believe — because based on the empirical evidence, Cousins is beyond being a cancerous presence. He's lapsed in something between the plague and that virus Dustin Hoffman battled in Outbreak.
The second-year forward was sent home Sunday by the Sacramento Kings, who released a statement saying Cousins has demanded a trade.
"Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public," Kings coach Paul Westphal said in the statement. "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 [Sunday]."
John Greig, Cousins' agent, who defended his client's personality throughout the 2010 draft process and in the wake of a couple of incidents last season, backed Cousins again Sunday.
"DeMarcus never demanded a trade," Greig told SI.com. "I'm surprised the Kings, if they believe the player wanted a trade, wouldn't have made a phone call to his representative. Maybe Westphal is just feeling the heat early this season."
Cousins' attitude and work ethic have been criticized since his high school days in Alabama. In college, a South Carolina student accused Cousins, then at Kentucky, of throwing punches at him when USC students stormed the court after a Gamecocks win over the Wildcats.
In the run-up to the 2010 NBA draft, many scouts worried about Cousins' lack of professionalism, causing him to drop out of the top three picks to fifth overall.
Cousins was fined early last season for getting into a verbal altercation with the Kings' strength and conditioning coach, and made a "choke" gesture while the Warriors' Reggie Williams was at the free throw line late in a game. Cousins also was suspended last season for starting a fight on the team plane after teammate Donte Green did not pass him the ball on the final play of a Kings loss.
He led the league in personal fouls last season and was whistled for 14 technical fouls, the fourth-highest total in the NBA.
The Kings and Cousins' camp are reportedly scheduled to meet on Monday, possibly to talk about all the other NBA teams that are lining up to bring this young man aboard.
The Kings and Cousins have something in common: They both reportedly want to get out of Sacramento.
"The problem is still his throwing motion."
— unnamed NFL quarterbacks coach on Tim Tebow, whose mystique has faded now that the Broncos have lost three straight games
There's nothing like a NESN podcast for a long bus trip.
This is all pretty impressive until you realize this means we're now ranking sixth-grade basketball players. Then it just makes you feel gross about humanity.