The NBA suspended Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins for one game and fined him $20,000 on Thursday for punching an opposing player and verbally abusing an official in a game earlier this week.
The league suspended Cousins for punching Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach with 9:44 remaining in the first quarter of the Kings’ 129-103 loss on Tuesday night in Sacramento. Cousins was fined for verbally abusing official Courtney Kirkland and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Cousins will serve his suspension when the Kings visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
New Kings owner Vivek Ranadive had hoped Cousins could clean up his act when he signed the center to a four-year, $62 million contract extension before the season. Instead, Cousins leads the NBA with 15 technical fouls this season and will be suspended one game by the NBA if he gets another one.
The last two seasons Cousins has needed to have a technical foul rescinded by the league to avoid the automatic suspension that comes when a player reaches 16 technicals.
In the Houston game, Cousins was called for a technical after getting whistled for a foul against Dwight Howard and arguing against it. Cousins picked up his fifth personal foul moments later, then got called for another technical foul — earning an automatic ejection — after screaming in the face of Kirkland during a timeout.
Cousins had to be held back by coaches and teammates, pointing his finger and screaming at Kirkland. He flicked his headband into the stands on his way to the locker room.
Cousins has since apologized for his behavior, which has become a troubling trend through his career, even going back to high school and his one season at Kentucky.
The Kings and guard Jimmer Fredette have completed a buyout of his contract, clearing the way for the former BYU sensation to become a free agent.
Fredette was drafted 10th overall in 2011 after dazzling at BYU, where he won The Associated Press’ player of the year award after leading the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game. But “Jimmermania” never took shape in Sacramento like the Kings had hoped, and the franchise’s instability didn’t help his cause.
Fredette is averaging 5.9 points and 11.3 minutes this season. He’s shooting 47.5 percent.