SACRAMENTO -- DeMarcus Cousins was not available to talk following Monday night's loss to the Chicago Bulls. He didn't make himself available on Tuesday either after the NBA not only confirmed his suspension for picking up his 16th technical foul on the season, but also hit him with a $25,000 fine for making "an inappropriate statement and gesture," following the Kings big win over the Warriors on Saturday.
Instead of the 6-foot-11 center, head coach Dave Joerger stood in to take the heat for his star player.
"It is what it is," Joerger said. "We have to keep working on it, keep improving on it. It effects our team, he's been great. And we need him to be great every single night. He carries a heavy load for us and it's a tough deal to play a game without him."
Cousins is now on notice with the league. Once he reached the 16 technical foul mark, the penalties increase massively. Not only does Cousins accrue a $5000 fine with each additional tech, but he draws a suspension after every two violations. That suspension also involves the loss of a game check estimated at $154,000.
"There's a lot more bite to it now, for every two," Joerger said. "It's a good challenge."
This is the first go-around for Joerger when it comes to Cousins. The talented 26-year-old big is no stranger to controversy and he has collected more than his fair share of fines and technical fouls over his seven years in the league.
Despite Cousins being the earliest to draw a suspension since the league instituted the 16-technical foul rule before the 2005-06 season, the three-time All-Star has shown advancements, especially in his dealings with teammates.
"The way he goes about his business and how he's been very positive with his teammates when we're having tough time and pushing them when we're having good times," Joerger said. "You just see the leadership growing in him."
Cousins will miss his second game of the season Wednesday when Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics roll through Golden 1 Center. It's a tall order, but Joerger needs to get creative and find someway to replace Cousins' 27.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists.