What does Cousins want? (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

He demanded a trade on Christmas Eve and again after a loss Saturday night, yelling “trade me now!” to Coach Paul Westphal, according to Yahoo Sports.

Cousins’ agent, John Grieg, contends that the center has not demanded a trade, but Westphal left no doubt about his feelings Sunday and “excused” Cousins from the game against the New Orleans Hornets.

“Whenever a new season begins, in any sport, there is great hope that everything will progress in only a steady, upward direction,” Westphal said in a statement. “As we all know, it seldom happens like that in this life! As coaches, we can only ask that our players do everything they can to improve themselves as individuals and teammates. If they do this with all their hearts, we live with the results.

“Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public. This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.

“DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight.”

Joe Maloof, co-owner of the Kings, says a trade is not in the offing, no matter how Cousins, 21, feels.

“We’re happy that he’s a King,” Maloof said in a Yahoo interview. “But when a coach asks you to do something, you got to do it. We’re not trading him. …We have great expectations for him. It’s just one of those things that happens.

“Sooner or later he’ll understand what the NBA is about. Just get along with people. That’s all.”

Sounds simple enough, but, as the Sacramento Bee reports, there’s much more going on. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes:

Cousins, 21, is hardly the only disgruntled player of the three-year Westphal Era. Kevin Martin, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert expressed similar trade desires during their own Kings tenures, though none apparently took their requests directly to the coach. Additionally, Westphal’s one-game sitdown of Spencer Hawes in Feb., 2009, for publicly stating confusion about his role still seems like a gross overreaction.

Asked again late Sunday about his reasons for the dramatic and very public spanking of Cousins, Westphal replied: “He asked to be traded. We’re going one direction. He’s going in another direction. It’s that simple.”

If only it were.