The Kings have signed No. 6 overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein to his rookie scale contract, the team announced (on Twitter). Agent Rich Kleiman told the news to Sam Amick of USA Today earlier today, before the team acknowledged it (Twitter link). The center from Kentucky will see a salary of more than $3.398MM this season and make in excess of $15.35MM over the life of the four-year pact, assuming he signed for the standard 120% of the rookie scale.
Cauley-Stein is an elite defender, though his 7’1″, 242-pound body could use more bulk, and he doesn’t rebound as well as he should, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors points out in his prospect profile. Still, he was no real stretch at the sixth pick, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked him No. 6 among this year’s prospects and Chad Ford of ESPN.com had him eighth. Our Eddie Scarito had him a touch lower, at No. 11, in the final Hoops Rumors Mock Draft this year.
The 21-year-old big man, who turns 22 in August, stayed at Kentucky for three years, a rarity for such a heralded NBA prospect. He’s averaged 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and an impressive 2.8 blocks in 20.0 minutes per game so far in summer league play. Cauley-Stein took part in summer league play without a signed contract to let the Kings make the most of their cap space. Now that he’s signed, his cap hold goes up by about $600K, signaling that Sacramento is likely done with significant free agent additions this summer.