NBA rumors: Mavericks leaning towards picking up Willie Cauley-Stein team option

More on Willie Cauley-Stein Free Agency

Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein will decline his $2.28 million player option, as expected, and become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told HoopsHype. Cauley-Stein, 27, has shown the ability to switch on defensive pick-and-roll coverage and is at his best as a mobile roller on offense.
You have a player option for next season, but it appears you love it with the Warriors. Willie Cauley-Stein: I love the guys. I love the environment. I love the city. And I haven’t been in a city like this. It’s all new and energizing in a way. And there is a lot of opportunity to grow in life, period, not just hoops. And that all comes from just being around these group of guys and the group of coaches, the atmosphere around the city.
Willie Cauley-Stein: In Sacramento, they put a tag on me that I wasn’t invested or I didn’t care about hoops like that. A lot of stuff that this platform exited out. You can’t go to one coach or one trainer in that facility and say I don’t work hard. But that’s one thing that they used to say. ‘Oh, he don’t work hard enough, blah, blah, blah.’ Dude, you don’t know how hard I’m working. So, that was like the biggest thing for me was the clout that this team has. The championship. Got wins. But most importantly, they get it. They get it from a perspective that some teams can’t even get close to touching. … If I wasn’t invested in hoops, I would not come to the Warriors. The stage is too hard. Everybody’s looking at this. If I didn’t really like hoops, I’m going to go get a bag somewhere else. A little pretty bag.
Marcus Thompson: I’m told Willie Cauley-Stein coming to the Warriors. Was Damian Jones that bad in the Summer League debut? Does that mean no DeMarcus Cousins?
Sean Cunningham: The Kings were able to free up room for Cory Joseph by rescinding the qualifying offer for Willie Cauley-Stein, league source says. That makes him an unrestricted free agent, granting that wish to the formerly longest tenured Kings player and his agent.
Sam Amick: The Kings have extended a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, a source with knowledge tells @TheAthletic , making him a restricted free agent.
Vlade Divac and his team aren’t going to respond to the report with anything of substance, nor should they. They have until June 29 to make a decision on the 25-year-old big and his $6.3 million qualifying offer, and according to a league source, they're still mulling their options. Cauley-Stein, like every other first-round pick to come into the league, is under team control for his first four seasons and can become a restricted free agent in Year 5. By failing to extend a qualifying offer, Divac would walk away from an asset without any hope of compensation.
He has positives, and the Kings haven’t given up hope completely on him. But there's also room for growth at the position, and the Kings are right to look at other options. It appears a divorce is inevitable, but the Kings need to do what is right for their franchise. If that means extending the qualifying offer and playing the wait-and-see game with Cauley-Stein, so be it.
The Kings could extend a qualifying offer to make Cauley-Stein a restricted free agent, but Cauley-Stein feels it’s time for both sides to move on, his agent told The Sacramento Bee on Saturday evening. “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.”
The Kings issued a brief statement to The Bee on Saturday night in response to Montgomery’s remarks. “Willie is a great player who has shown he can fit our style of play,” the team said. “Beyond that, we can’t comment further.”
“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.”
Montgomery said it would be best for Cauley-Stein to evolve his game somewhere else. “We haven’t felt that he’s been able to get what has been necessary for him to be able to lead the franchise the way he wants to,” Montgomery said. “We are very, very thankful for the opportunity that was presented to him, but we just think it’s not working. It’s not going to work. It’s just time for a fresh start. We need a fresh start and maybe the Kings do, too.”
The team hasn’t shut the door on a return of the incumbent starter, Willie Cauley-Stein. He is long and athletic, but his inconsistent play continues to concern the Kings.
While the media was gathered around his locker following Tuesday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, Cauley-Stein turned to rookie Marvin Bagley III and said: “I can’t wait to get out.” Cauley-Stein had a certain look on his face. Bagley used sentence fragments to warn Cauley-Stein not to say anything crazy to reporters.
Cauley-Stein — still sitting, thankfully — insisted he just wanted to get out of the locker room, saying the “vibe” wasn’t right that night, a valid explanation that allayed my skepticism. So maybe he doesn’t want out. Now what? “I just want to hoop freely,” Cauley-Stein said. “That’s kind of the biggest thing for me, just going somewhere, whether it’s here or anywhere else, and taking that next evolution to the game where you’re not just a rim runner.”
Acquiring Kanter might make the Kings more willing to part with center Willie Cauley-Stein, who could become a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings have pursued Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr. in free agency and trade talks over the past couple of years. Cauley-Stein could be a key player in a deal for Porter.
The Kings have to make a decision on Cauley-Stein this summer, when he will be a restricted free agent. It’s a difficult choice. Sacramento has to either tear down the team and build around Bagley or keep him in a smaller role off the bench that he won’t be happy in. Neither choice is appealing, especially since the team has to give its first-round pick in this year’s draft to either the Celtics or Sixers. This is the franchise for the near future. The Kings’ future would look different if they could plug in a high lottery pick who clicked with their young core.
Cauley-Stein’s candor can rile those who see a lot of talk without the credentials to warrant his self-confidence. He has no problem admitting he’s out for a big contract, when the politically-correct approach would be to say he’s focused on winning, not getting paid. The Kings want to see consistency before committing big bucks to Cauley-Stein and the big man knows if he heeds Divac’s wishes, he has good reason to have money on his mind. “By all means it’s not out of it,” Cauley-Stein said. “I have a complete goal of what I want to get and how to get there and they’re giving me the tools to get there and that’s dominating both sides of the floor. They’ve made it clear, dominate both sides of the floor and what you think is going to happen is going to happen. So that’s what I came in to do.”
Every once in a while, though, you hear something decidedly unique that stands out and becomes worthy of writing. On Monday afternoon, Willie Cauley-Stein sat in the hot seat and bared his soul. In midseason form, the fourth-year center said exactly what was on his mind. “I’m ready to get paid,” Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports California. “This is what we’ve got to do, that’s what type of focus I’m on. I’m ready for it. I’ve seen everybody else -- all my peers. All right, I’m ready for that. What do I got to do to do that? That’s what they’re doing? All right, I’m going to go ahead and do this now. I was doing it this way, obviously it wasn’t working, so now let's do it this way.”
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September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update

Zach LaVine doesn't want to leave Chicago?

The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
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Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)
Storyline: Philadelphia 76ers Turmoil?