There were moments last season when Willie Cauley-Stein, with his incredible athleticism, was the perfect center for Sacramento’s up-tempo style of play. Then there were times he just seemed to float around the court, disengaged. He was inconsistent, a knock that has followed Cauley-Stein through his four-year NBA career.
This summer, if the Kings extend a qualifying offer (as expected), Cauley-Stein will be a restricted free agent (meaning the Kings could match any offer).
Cauley-Stein’s agent doesn’t want the Kings to do that, he told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
“I really think Willie needs a fresh start,” said Roger Montgomery, a representative of Roc Nation Sports. “Based on how things have gone for him there in Sacramento, I just think it’s time for Willie to move on and we’d really like him to move on…
“We’ve kind of hoped that things would change over the years and Willie would get a chance to expand his game, get a chance to get some consistency there in terms of the roster turnover and the coaching turnover and the things that have not been steady there,” Montgomery said. “That being said, I’m hopeful they will not even give Willie his qualifying offer so Willie can be an unrestricted free agent.”
That’s probably not happening, teams rarely give up that kind of control. That, however, doesn’t mean Sacramento plans to keep him around.
Last season, Cauley-Stein put up good numbers, starting all but one game and averaging 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and he has solid advanced stats as well. Cauley-Stein has the game and tools to be the perfect center for the Kings — he’s athletic, runs the floor very well and is a threat to get lobs, plus he can switch out on smaller players on defense. However, the Kings don’t get that from him nightly, especially on defense, and that has led to frustration. On both sides.
The Kings have been linked to Nikola Vucevic among other centers and it seems that Cauley-Stein will get his wish and be able to move on next season. There will be a team willing to bet on his athleticism, but he will also find the market a little tighter than he expected.