Star center DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for one-game by the Sacramento Kings this week after appearing to shout at coach George Karl during a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported that the number five draft pick back in 2010 was upset that Karl had failed to sufficiently defend the big man to the referees during the 120-111 loss.
Cousins has been enjoying a career season in points, with the 25-year-old putting up an average of 27.4 buckets a night. That has propelled him to fourth place in the league's scoring charts, but unfortunately, the Kings form has failed to reflect his contributions and they currently languish in eleventh place in the Western Conference.
Cousins will miss the Kings' trip to the Orlando Magic on Friday night and general manager Vlade Divac moved to explain the organisation's stance on the situation during Thursday's media session.
Divac said: "Well, obviously we tried to do our best thing to send a message that we cannot tolerate some stuff ... He went a little far and we have to do things to be on the same page."
"I don't know details, that's something between the players and coach, and George is not here right now, but you can ask him tomorrow."
However, Divac far from painted Cousins like the proverbial black sheep and noted how impressed he was with two-time All-Star's production this season. He believes his superstar's passion may have simply got the best of him.
"I think DeMarcus is doing very well this year and playing really hard," Divac admitted. "This is something that he was kind of emotionally overwhelmed and did something that he shouldn't do and we did it to send a message.
"He's a good kid, I hate doing this, but I'm general manager. I have to do sometimes hard stuff so I don't blame him with the emotions that he had, but it's the wrong thing to do."
Divac - who spent six years with the Kings as a player, earning All-Star honours in 2001 - still believes Cousins has a future with the franchise and with a few tweaks, Sacramento will compete for a postseason spot once more.
"Season is not over. I don't think so," Divac said. "I think he's a very talented kid that improved this year big time and we'll still work with him together and hopefully, I believe in this team, I think we have talent, yes. We're not happy with the results, but with some improvements, we can definitely be a playoff team."
It appears as though Divac had to act so that he could keep his house in order. Despite Cousins exceptional talents, there can be no exception to those rules and the Sacramento front office will be hoping the steps they have taken will make them stronger moving forward.
Cousins is contracted through until the end of the 2017-18 season; can he drive the Kings back to playoff contention?