The post-Cousins era begins tonight for the Kings

How will the team fare without their All-Star?

February 23, 2017

You've probably heard that the Sacramento Kings traded their star player Demarcus Cousins earlier this week.  You've probably also heard that the Kings didn't get a huge return in exchange for their all-star player.  Usually, when a team trades a big name away, they do it to "rebuild" for the future, getting multiple young promising players back.  The problem is, the Kings have already been "rebuilding" for a decade.  These reasons are why so many Kings fans had such negative initial reactions to the trade.  Conventional wisdom says the Kings will now struggle for the rest of the season and for the forseeable future.  But Demarcus was not a conventional player.  Sure, he averaged more than 20 points a game during the 6 1/2 years he played in Sacramento, an impressive stat, but there was much more to Cousins than his domination on the floor.  There was the nearly constant temper tantrums and bickering with the refs.  There was the unprofessional treatment of journalists and occasionally even opposing fans.  Let's be honest, despite his massive talent, he was a difficult player to root for.  Contrast this current Kings team to the Kings heyday in the early 2000's.  Leading the way was our superstar at the time, Chris Webber, and his contagious smile.  Throw in his fun sidekick relationship with Mike Bibby, and a cast of other likeable characters, and you have a team the city of Sacramento loved to root for.  Fast forward to today, and you see many many more Warriors jerseys around town than Kings jerseys, and that really bothers me.  Yes, the Kings have lost a ton of games this decade, but I think Demarcus and his temperament didn't help the cause.
Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the Kings suddenly feel a freedom without the larger-than-life Cousins around and rally together to play inspired basketball tonight in their first game without him and keep it going the rest of the season.  Or maybe they will indeed struggle without their superstar.  Either way, shedding Cousins and Matt Barnes as well this week has made the Kings a bit smoother around the edges.  Will this translate to more fans?  More wins?