Sacramento, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The Sacramento Kings gave DeMarcus Cousins a season short of the maximum five-year contract extension for the maximum money of $62 million.
The deal includes a no team or player option, locking Cousins in with the Kings through the 2017-18 season.
Cousins will make $4.9 million in the final year of his rookie contract in 2013-14. Once his new deal kicks in, Cousins will be one of the league’s highest-paid centers.
The Kings are wary of giving Cousins a five-year extension due to concerns about his behavior.
Cousins got multiple suspensions, including a team-imposed ban last December, for what the Kings termed unprofessional behavior.
The 23-year old center received a league-leading 15 technical fouls last season and had incidents with Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott, Mavericks’ O.J. Mayo and Vince Carter and Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy.
He also had various clashes with coaches and teammates.
While he averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, Cousins has a wavering commitment to defense and has led or been near the league lead in fouls committed.
The Kings open training camp Tuesday in Santa Barbara and the signing removed it among potential distractions for the franchise.
Cousins was the fifth overall pick in 2010 after one season under John Calipari at the University of Kentucky.
He will be mentored by future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal who has been added as a minority Kings owner earlier this week.
“So ‘Dr. O’Neal’ and I are going to have dinner with him on Monday night, and Dr. O’Neal is going to spend a couple of days with him and the team. So I’m very, very pleased with everything that I’m seeing,” said new owner Vivek Ranadive of Cousins.