While the news was expected, it won’t thrill Cauley-Stein’s agent, Roger Montgomery, who said last weekend that his client needs a “fresh start” and would be better off with another team. Montgomery hoped that Sacramento would choose not to issue a qualifying offer to Cauley-Stein, allowing him to reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
The Kings have been linked to bigger-name free agent centers in recent weeks, and there’s a good chance they’ll let Cauley-Stein walk if they can land a player like Al Horford, Nikola Vucevic, or Brook Lopez. However, it wouldn’t have made sense for Sacramento not to give Cauley-Stein a qualifying offer — retaining the right of first refusal on WCS will give the Kings a solid fallback option if they strike out on other targets.
Cauley-Stein’s qualifying offer is worth $6,265,631, and he’ll have a cap hold of $14,090,625, per Basketball Insiders. That cap hold will cut into the Kings’ cap flexibility, but the team has the ability to renounce it and clear it from the books if it decides Cauley-Stein won’t be back.
In 81 games (27.3 MPG) for the Kings in 2018/19, Cauley-Stein – the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft – averaged 11.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.4 APG.