Willie Cauley-Stein

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Cauley-Stein accepted a salary slightly above the veteran’s minimum in order to join a perennial winner after the Kings rescinded his qualifying offer.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.

Kings Not Expected To Chase Nikola Vucevic

The Kings are hoping for an upgrade at center, but they won’t pursue Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic when free agency starts June 30, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Vucevic is in line for a huge raise after posting his best NBA season and his first All-Star appearance. The 28-year-old averaged 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks in 80 games this year. Despite reports that Sacramento might be one of his free agent suitors, Ham states that he doesn’t fit the up-tempo approach that the Kings prefer.

That’s also true of fellow free agent big man Jonas Valanciunas, who opted out of his deal with the Grizzlies last week. He’ll be seeking a significant raise over the $17.6MM salary he bypassed.

Ham suggests the Kings might opt for a short-term solution, seeking a one- or two-year contract with the Knicks’ DeAndre Jordan or the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon. Jordan will turn 31 this summer and Dedmon is almost 30, so neither is viewed as a long-range option.

Sacramento also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of keeping Willie Cauley-Stein, as Ham notes the team is expected to make him a restricted free agent by issuing a qualifying offer before June 30. GM Vlade Divac said the front office still sees potential in the former No. 6 pick, but has been frustrated by his up-and-down performance.

“We would like to keep Willie in terms of his talent potential,” Divac said, “but he still needs to show us the consistency that we are looking for. We are talking.” 

Kings Notes: Cauley-Stein, Workouts, Team USA

The Kings are known to be looking for a starting center when free agency begins on June 30, but does that mean that it’s time for Sacramento and former No. 6 overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein to part ways?

Jason Jones of The Athletic opines that even though the Kings have the ability to make Cauley-Stein a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of just under $6.3MM, it might be best after four seasons for both sides to see what else is out there, especially if the Kings can pick up someone like Nikola Vucevic.

The 25-year-old big man had some bright spots during the 2018/19 campaign, including a hot start that helped make the Kings one of the NBA’s surprise teams to start the season. But, the Kings still feel that Cauley-Stein is an average to below-average rebounder for a big man, and his blocks per game this past season were the lowest of his career.

Perhaps more importantly, the Kings really like what they already have from young, cheaper big men like Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles, and questions still remain, fairly or not, about Cauley-Stein’s desire and focus, which the Kings aren’t sure will now suddenly change after four seasons in the NBA.

There’s more out of Sacramento this weekend:

  • The Kings brought in six prospects for workouts on Thursday, per the team’s website. The players are: guard Jordan Bone (Tennessee), guard Terence Davis (Mississippi), swingman Brian Bowen (Australia), forward Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), forward Trey Mourning (Georgetown), and big man Chris Silva (South Carolina).
  • Six more more NBA hopefuls will work out for the Kings on Monday, per a report on the team’s website. The prospects are: guard Kyle Guy (Virginia), guard B.J. Taylor (UCF), guard John Konchar (IPFW), guard Jaren Lewis (Abilene Christian), swingman Jakeenan Gant (UL Lafayette), and forward Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky).
  • As we relayed earlier this week, two Kings’ players will be participating in USA Basketball this summer. Harrison Barnes will be at USA Basketball’s August training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China this fall, while the aforementioned Bagley will be part of the 10-man select team that will scrimmage against the 18-man FIBA World Cup roster.