Willie Cauley-Stein

Myers: Warriors Will Provide Klay Thompson Update At All-Star Break

After tearing his ACL during the NBA Finals in the spring, Klay Thompson has expressed doubt that he’ll be back on the court for the Warriors before the All-Star break. Speaking today to reporters, Golden State’s president of basketball operations Bob Myers confirmed as much.

He’s doing fine,” Myers said of Thompson. “We’ll have an update on him at the All-Star break.”

Assuming Thompson’s rehab process doesn’t unexpectedly speed up in the coming months, the earliest he might return would be February 20, the Warriors’ first game after the All-Star break. That would be the team’s 56th game of the season.

Of course, based on Myers’ comment that the Warriors won’t even provide an update on their All-Star sharpshooter until mid-February, it’s also possible that his return date will come even later than that.

As we wait to see how Thompson’s recovery progresses, here are a few more Warriors notes from Media Day:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein suffered a strained left foot during a recent workout and will miss training camp, Myers said today (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that Kevon Looney now looks like the probable starter at center to open the season.I had big plans for Looney anyway,” Kerr said (Twitter link via Slater).
  • Myers said that there are no plans to put Stephen Curry on a minutes limit or to have him sit out games this season for load management reasons (Twitter link via Friedell). Still, the Warriors will keep an eye on the former MVP’s minutes as the seasons unfolds.
  • Kerr said he intends to stagger Curry’s and D’Angelo Russell‘s minutes to some extent this season to help balance the Warriors’ offense (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated).
  • Myers admitted that it will be hard to make any changes to Golden State’s roster this season due to the team’s hard cap (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today).

Western Notes: McKinnie, Cauley-Stein, Silva, Grant

Willie Cauley-Stein will likely start at center for the Warriors but Kevon Looney will probably play more crunch-time minutes, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Alfonzo McKinnie may get the nod at small forward with Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III in reserve, since McKinnie is a high energy player who should mesh well with the backcourt of Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell, Slater continues. However, rookie Eric Paschall is a darkhorse candidate to play down the stretch due to his versatility, Slater adds.

We have from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors preferred Cauley-Stein to DeMarcus Cousins even before Cousins committed to the Lakers, Slater writes in the same mailbag story. Cauley-Stein provided a younger option who better fit their new priorities, according to Slater. However, they never really had a decision to make because they were hard-capped after the sign-and-trade for Russell with the Nets was agreed upon. The hard cap meant the Warriors couldn’t give Cousins a max raise up to $6.4MM, Slater notes. Cauley-Stein agreed to join the Warriors on a two-year contract on July 2 and officially signed on July 8.
  • Pelicans draft-and-stash prospect Marcos Louzada Silva – aka Didi Louzada — has developed a solid perimeter jumper that should translate well to the NBA game, according to a Heavy.com story. The 6’5” guard can also attack the rim and has shown good strides in his development in recent months. Louzada, the 35th overall pick in June who was acquired in a draft-day deal, will play in Australia with the Sydney Kings during the upcoming season.
  • Jerami Grant should be an ideal frontcourt complement to Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic opines. Grant, projected as the top big off the bench, is a nimble perimeter defender who can guard ball-handlers. Grant, acquired from the Thunder for a protected first-round pick, is also a solid help defender who can block shots.
  • Jared Cunningham will work out for the Warriors on Tuesday, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets. Cunningham, a shooting guard who recently worked out for the Rockets, hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2015/16 season.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Livingston, Cauley-Stein, Cook

Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry is confident he’ll mesh his skills with D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired from the Nets in a sign-and-trade, according to an ESPN report.

“The chemistry will develop quickly. We’ll be really purposeful about that and trying to set the tone for how we’re going to play this year,” Curry said.

He’s also looking forward to being in an underdog role for a change with Kevin Durant signing with Brooklyn and Klay Thompson expected to miss a large chunk of the season.

“I’m excited, to be honest with you,” he said. “Five straight years in the Finals and we’ve accomplished a lot, and three championships. There’s a lot to be proud of. But everybody wants a new challenge in terms of how do you get back to that level.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors are likely to offer Shaun Livingston a role in the organization if he opts to retire, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The veteran guard was waived this week before his $7.7MM salary for next season became fully guaranteed.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was courted by Curry, Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr and that made his free agency decision easier, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. Cauley-Stein accepted a salary slightly above the veteran’s minimum in order to join a perennial winner after the Kings rescinded his qualifying offer. “It honestly just came down to situation. I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year,” he said. “But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security.”
  • Guard Quinn Cook harbors no ill will toward the organization, though he was surprised it pulled his qualifying offer in order to clear cap space, as he told Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. Cook wound up signing a two-year, $6MM deal with the Lakers. “It was tough for me with how everything went down, but no hard feelings,” Cook said. “We’re family forever and champions forever.”

Warriors Waive Shaun Livingston

JULY 10: The Warriors have issued a press release to announce that Livingston has officially been waived and thanking him for “immense contributions” to the franchise. Assuming he goes unclaimed, as expected, he’ll clear waivers on Friday.

JULY 9: The Warriors have waived veteran guard Shaun Livingston, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The move was a necessary one for the hard-capped Dubs, who needed to remove Livingston’s $7.7MM salary from their books before it became fully guaranteed.

Livingston had a $2MM partial guarantee, which the Warriors will stretch across three seasons at a rate of $666K per year. Golden State likely explored moving the 33-year-old in a trade to avoid eating that dead money, but would have had to attach an asset to him to find a taker.

According to Wojnarowski, Livingston is determined to continue his playing career after being cut by Golden State. He’ll clear waivers later this week and will likely be prioritizing contending teams as he seeks a new NBA home.

A member of the Warriors teams that have reached the NBA Finals in each of the last five years, Livingston played a regular rotation role in Golden State, averaging between 15.1 and 19.5 minutes per game in each season since 2014/15. He recorded 4.0 PPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.8 RPG in 64 games in 2018/19.

Here are a few more notes on the Warriors’ contracts and cap situation:

  • Second-round pick Eric Paschall received a three-year, guaranteed minimum-salary contract, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The Warriors used the mid-level exception to give him that third year.
  • The Warriors also used their mid-level exception to sign Willie Cauley-Stein, who got a two-year, $4.4MM deal with a second-year player option, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That contract is worth a little more than the minimum.
  • While the Warriors still have some MLE money leftover, they’re unlikely to be able to use it this year. According to Marks (Twitter link), after waiving and stretching Livingston, the team projects to be just $219K below the $138.9MM hard cap once all its moves are complete.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Warriors Sign Willie Cauley-Stein

JULY 8, 10:12pm: The signing is official, the team’s PR department tweets.

JULY 2, 4:31pm: Free agent center Willie Cauley-Stein has decided to join the Warriors, according to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports confirms (via Twitter) that the two sides are in agreement on a deal.

Although Cauley-Stein opened the free agent period as a restricted free agent, he didn’t stay restricted for long — the Kings rescinded his qualifying offer in order to create the necessary cap room to sign their other targets, including Cory Joseph. As a result, Cauley-Stein is free to sign outright with any team.

The sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Cauley-Stein spent the first four years of his NBA career in Sacramento, though it became increasingly clear as the Kings were linked to free agent centers in recent weeks that he probably wasn’t part of the club’s plan going forward. The Kings ultimately struck deals with Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes to address the five spot.

Cauley-Stein will head to another Pacific team in the Warriors, which is a little surprising, given the lack of cap flexibility for Golden State. The team is expected to fill out its roster with mostly minimum-salary players after hard-capping itself at the tax apron by acquiring D’Angelo Russell via sign-and-trade. However, Cauley-Stein will get a salary slightly above the minimum, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

In 81 games (27.3 MPG) for the Kings in 2018/19, Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.4 APG. He’ll join a new-look Warriors roster that will no longer feature Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala in 2019/20. In the wake of the team’s agreement with Cauley-Stein, it also seems increasingly unlikely that DeMarcus Cousins will return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: Mavs, Rockets, Bulls, Wolves, C’s

It was a quiet first day of free agency for the Mavericks, but the team still has some irons in the fire and plenty of cap flexibility to work with.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets that he believes the Mavericks are “in the driver’s seat” with Danny Green, though he cautions that could change if Kawhi Leonard decides to stay in Toronto — Green could join him in that scenario.

Besides Green, Townsend identifies Kevon Looney, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Seth Curry, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as some potential free agent targets to watch for the Mavericks.

Let’s round up a few more notes and rumors related to free agency…

  • The Rockets will be among the teams with interest in Andre Iguodala if the Grizzlies elect to buy out the veteran swingman, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Iguodala is being sent to Memphis from Golden State in a cap-clearing move.
  • Having used their cap room to land Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, the Bulls will be in the market for a shooter or another big man with some or all of their room exception ($4.8MM), tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Timberwolves missed out on top free agent target D’Angelo Russell, but did speak to their own RFA point guard Tyus Jones on Sunday, sources tell Jon Krawcznyski of The Athletic, who speculates that a Jones reunion may be more likely with D-Lo off the table.
  • In the wake of their sign-and-trade agreement for Kemba Walker, the Celtics are still working to determine which mid-level exception they’ll have at their disposal, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

Kings Sign Cory Joseph

JULY 6: The signing of Joseph is official, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

JULY 1: The Kings have reached an agreement to sign Cory Joseph, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). According to Haynes, the free agent point guard will receive a three-year, $37MM commitment from Sacramento. Sam Amick of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the third year is partially guaranteed.

The agreement caps a busy day for the Kings, who filled a series of holes on their roster, adding quality depth via the free agent market. In addition to striking a deal with Joseph, the Kings agreed to re-sign Harrison Barnes and will add outside free agents Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon.

Joseph, who is entering his age-28 season, backed up Darren Collison at the point last season for Indiana, averaging 6.5 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 3.4 RPG in 82 games (25.2 MPG). He struggled a little with his shot, as his .412 FG% was the lowest mark he had posted since his rookie season.

In Sacramento, Joseph figures to back up – and perhaps play alongside – promising young point guard De’Aaron Fox.

The Kings will have to renounce restricted free agent Willie Cauley-Stein in order to accommodate all of today’s contract agreements. Amick confirms that the team has rescinded his qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks indicated after the earlier moves that Sacramento would have about $13MM in space remaining if Cauley-Stein’s cap hold was removed from the books, so Joseph’s deal will use just about all of that space. The Kings still have the room exception available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Issue Qualifying Offer To Willie Cauley-Stein

The Kings have tendered a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, making the big man a restricted free agent, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic (via Twitter).

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.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, I. Smith, Diallo, Mavs, More

While rumors of Kevin Durant‘s possible departure continue to persist, the Warriors have recently expressed some private optimism about their chances of re-signing the former MVP, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Amick explains, that hope stems from the fact that Golden State is the only team with the ability to make Durant a five-year, $221MM offer. That extra year and money could be a more significant factor with KD recovering from an Achilles tear.

Earlier this week, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers indicated that the team has formal plans to talk to both Durant and Klay Thompson about new deals, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). Myers also said that Thompson is expected to undergo his ACL surgery later this week.

Here’s more from around the NBA on free agency:

  • Ish Smith is among the free agent point guards who are on the Timberwolves‘ radar, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Wolfson previously identified T.J. McConnell as a target of interest to Minnesota.
  • Cheick Diallo, who shares an agent with Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Mavs free agent target Patrick Beverley, is a potential fit for Dallas, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Diallo reportedly won’t receive a qualifying offer from New Orleans, so he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban downplayed the importance of face-to-face meetings for free agents, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. “There’s some players that want a presentation and they want the dog-and-pony show,” Cuban said. “And there’s some players, they don’t care. They have a feel and they just want to ask some questions and you don’t really have to have a meeting to do that. … It really depends on the players. I can give you a long list of players we didn’t have meetings with that we signed, and a lot of teams that didn’t have meetings and they signed people. There’s not a lot of secrets. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re going to say something they didn’t know.”
  • Although Willie Cauley-Stein‘s agent doesn’t want the Kings to give his client a qualifying offer, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to forgo that QO, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Agent: Willie Cauley-Stein Needs “Fresh Start”

The Kings have until June 30 to submit a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, but his agent is urging them not to.

Roger Montgomery of Roc Nation Sports told Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee that his client would be better off with another team.

“I really think Willie needs a fresh start,” he said. “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.”

Cauley-Stein has spent four years in Sacramento after being the sixth pick in the 2015 draft. He became a full-time starter this season, averaging 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 81 games. However, consistency and shaky defense have been concerns.

The Kings issued a statement in response to Montgomery’s comments, but gave no indication about their plans for a qualifying offer.

“Willie is a great player who has shown he can fit our style of play,” the statement read. “Beyond that, we can’t comment further.”

Cauley-Stein made nearly $4.7MM this season in the final year of his rookie contract. He is headed for free agency because he didn’t reach an extension agreement with the team last fall. The Kings can make him restricted, allowing them to match any offer, by extending a $6,265,631 QO.

“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.”

The Kings have plenty of cap room to find a replacement if they decide to let Cauley-Stein go. Anderson mentions Nikola Vucevic, DeAndre Jordan, Jonas Valanciunas and Dewayne Dedmon as possible targets.