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DeMarcus Cousins said Kings treated him like a “piece of cattle” through trade process

New Orleans Pelicans v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 11: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts prior to their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on March 11, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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It was the question that kept GMs considering a trade for DeMarcus Cousins up at night: How much of that dysfunctional relationship was Cousins’ fault, and how much was the Kings? Because as much as Cousins could be overly sensitive to criticism and a handful, the Kings handled everything around him about as poorly as they possibly could. Just revisit the George Karl situation in your mind.

Cousins has been hesitant to talk about his exit from the Kings at the trade deadline. However, with the Pelicans set to host the Kings, he sat down with Marc Spears of The Undefeated and was open about a lot of things. That includes his desire to stay in Sacramento to build something, of course, the $35 million (give or take) he lost out on with the trade, and how the Kings management treated him.

About that money...

It was never about the money. I don’t play this game for money. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t play for the money.... I wanted my legacy to end in Sacramento. I invested so much time and energy. Everything I had, my whole heart was into that city. Just for it to end the way it did, that was the part that was f—-. But it was never about the money. I don’t give a s--- about the money.

The Kings didn’t tell him about the trade (he got out of the All-Star Game and heard the news), but would he feel differently if they had?

Of course, I would’ve been mad. But I still would have respected it. Come to me like a man. I’m a human being at the end of the day. Don’t treat me like a f------ piece of cattle.

Cousins goes on to talk about how much he loves playing with Anthony Davis, how much he feels loved in New Orleans, and how he likes being a couple of hours drive from his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. However, when asked about his free agency plans in the summer of 2018 — will the free agent re-sign with the Pelicans? — he was vague and said he’s not thinking about it yet. Which is what he should say, see how things play out for a year in New Orleans and then make a call.

It’s going to be an interesting summer leading into next season in New Orleans. Who will be coaching the team, still Alvin Gentry? Can they add some shooting around Davis, Cousins, and Jrue Holiday? Will Cousins and Davis mesh?

And through it all, we’ll get a better sense of how much the issues in Sacramento were on Cousins, and how much were on the Kings.