Word is that handling rookie forward DeMarcus Cousins is proving to be an even bigger job for coach Paul Westphal and his staff than expected, even after the Kings hired Cousins' high school coach (Otis Hughley) in hopes of keeping the 20-year-old -- freshly relegated to a bench role -- plugged in.
One source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Cousins was fined recently for clashing with members of Westphal's staff. I've also been advised that it's not one-and-done as far as such clashes go, which has created a level of tension that -- anticipated or not -- obviously isn't what the Kings need when they're already operating at such an experience deficit on top of their serious defensive frailties.
And how about this from Sam Amick of AOL Fanhouse:
For all of (Tyreke) Evans' dynamic talents and incredible skill, he remains a polarizing figure in-house because of the way he has been handled since coming on the scene last season. He was pitched as a point guard, then subsequently gained a reputation among scouts, front-office and coaching types as someone who -- no matter how many times he toes the company line -- only passes if he has to most of the time.
I have one word: Oy.
The season is quickly degenerating.
Cousins is your prototypical boom-or-bust pick. It's very early, but there is nothing booming about his play right now.
He looks supremely disinterested in defense. And his limited athletic ability has exposed a lot of deficiency on the offensive end.
Evans might be the root cause of the team's selfish offense.
Worst of all, Westphal is not the coach this team needs. After Friday night's loss to the Suns, he was playing the moral-victory card. This is not tee-ball. You get no badges for trying hard in the NBA.
This is supposed to be a turnaround year for the Kings. It is incredibly crucial to keep fan enthusiasm alive. The future of the franchise in Sacramento may hinge on it.
But Westphal and Kings management have botched it thus far.
There's still time to turn it around.
Fire Westphal today. Bring in a coach who will give a young team a clear idea about their roles, demand unselfishness, and enforce structure and discipline.
Take the financial wraps off Geoff Petrie and let him explore a trade that might actually make the Kings better instead of saving them money.
I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen.
So I'm pushing the panic button right now.
Just because I can.