DeMarcus Cousins denies trade request

Updated: January 3, 2012, 6:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins will dress Tuesday night but will not start against the Memphis Grizzlies, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The game will come two days after Kings coach Paul Westphal excused Cousins from the team's Sunday tilt against the New Orleans Hornets, and said the player had requested a trade.

On Monday, Cousins refuted that claim.

Cousins
Cousins

"I want to address my missing the New Orleans game Sunday," Cousins said in a statement. "I have not demanded or requested a trade. I don't agree with the actions taken but will give my sincere effort to put it behind me and compete the best I can for my team."

On Monday night, Kings president Geoff Petrie met with Cousins and his agent, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Petrie told the paper that the two sides "talked about the important role he (Cousins will) play in what we're trying to do offensively an the gamut of what he needs to do going forward."

Westphal released a statement before Sacramento hosted the Hornets on Sunday, criticizing Cousins' commitment to the franchise and excusing him from the team's game. He also confirmed that Cousins asked for a trade. The Kings had been expecting big things from Cousins this season.

They had been optimistic that he would show improved maturity after a strong rookie campaign that also had its share of temper tantrums and blow-ups. While the comical Cousins off the court never disappeared, the team expected its up-and-coming big man would learn to control his emotions.

Sacramento drafted Cousins with the fifth overall pick in 2010 after he spent one season at Kentucky. The 21-year-old Cousins was averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes per game this season.

Cousins' behavior has been well documented going back to high school and his one season at Kentucky, mixing in dramatic and astonishing plays with outbursts against players, coaches, trainers and referees. His conditioning has been questioned and so has his work ethic, however, he showed up for training camp in prime condition and appeared ready for a breakout season.

Teamed with 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, Cousins was expected to anchor the frontline for a young and emerging roster in the deep Western Conference. Sacramento finished 24-58 last season and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year, although a late-season surge behind a healthy Evans provided hope that maybe the Kings aren't that far off from making the postseason again.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.