The build up to DeMarcus Cousins' return to Sacramento is sure to take a few twists and turns. For six-plus seasons he was the face of the Kings franchise for better or worse. Even his exit from the team came with drama.
The three-time All-Star will play in front of a Kings crowd for the first time since being traded to the Pelicans earlier this year. Thursday night's game will be intriguing to say the least and the media barrage is already hitting hard. In a sitdown interview with ESPN's Marc Spears, Cousins throws a couple of interesting tidbits in.
"My biggest regret is, why didn't I leave when I had a chance?," the 6-foot-10 center said in a prepackaged conversation.
When asked to elaborate, Cousins said he had the opportunity to leave when George Karl came aboard. Karl openly shopped the team's star center, which set the stage for a miserable relationship between the two.
"I wanted to it a chance," Cousins said. "My representatives, they told me I shouldn't stay. But being, I guess you can say stubborn and loyal, I wanted to make things work."
Karl was let go following the 2015-16 season after just 112 games with the franchise. Cousins didn't last much longer, getting traded to the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline in February.
"You knew coming in this was just a business, how you going to be loyal to something that ain't loyal to any player that's ever played the game," Cousins said. "I was a fool."
There were rumors of potential Cousins trades multiple times during his tenure in Sacramento. Be it the Lakers, Orlando, Cleveland or Phoenix, the Kings had options and refused to pull the trigger until late last season.
While his on court demeanor turned off plenty of folks, his work in the community was renowned. Cousins was awarded a the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award.
"I'm excited to play in front of the fans and see their reaction, but as far as it being just a revenge game or anything, I'm past it," Cousins said.
He's an emotional player that wears his heart on his sleeve. Thursday night is a big night for Cousins, whether he wants to admit it or not.