Early in the 2011-12 season as reporters surrounded Kings center DeMarcus Cousins laughter broke out among the players.

Chuck Hayes took offense yelling that the behavior was unacceptable. But as losses piled up over the next two seasons Hayes blended into the background when teammates laughed afterward. Hayes now says he no longer wants to be a part of a culture that accepts losing.

"That's exactly what happened" Hayes said. "I tried to come in and be the vocal leader but when things went bad I let that bring me down. I let it bring down my spirit. That was wrong on my part. It's unfair to my teammates; it's unfair to the coaching staff. So I just want to sustain that veteran role."

It was uncertain if Hayes would be back this season if the Kings could find a taker for the two years and $11.7 million still owed to him after two underwhelming seasons with the team.

Hayes wasn't traded and now the 6-foot-6 center who's listed at 250 pounds hopes to fill the role as a locker-room leader that former Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie anticipated two years ago. And he likes what he has seen from new coach Michael Malone.
"We have a culture a system of how we want to play" Hayes said. "That's good. That's something we needed and he's coming with a lot of experience from being in the league with his father (Kings assistant Brendan) and that's gone very very well."

Hayes broke into the NBA with the Houston Rockets in 2005 under coach Jeff Van Gundy one of Malone's mentors.