Willie Cauley-Stein

Western Notes: Marjanovic, Cauley-Stein, Lakers Arena, Warriors

What is the status of the ever popular Boban Marjanovic? According to Marc Stein in a Substack post, Marjanovic has a place on the Rockets’ opening night roster despite an excess of big men.

Marjanovic was dealt by Dallas as part of its package for Christian Wood. He has one season left on the two-year, $7MM contract he signed last offseason.

Alperen Şengün is projected as Houston’s starting center, with Bruno Fernando and Willie Cauley-Stein also vying for spots on the regular season roster.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The addition of Cauley-Stein isn’t official yet, as Houston must clear a roster space to sign him. He’s a low-risk, potentially solid-reward addition, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. Over the past five seasons, Cauley-Stein’s teams defended nearly five points better with him on the floor, Iko notes. He’s still athletic enough to play in Houston’s up-tempo system and should help the team defensively.
  • The home arena for the Lakers and Clippers in undergoing major renovations over the next three summers, according to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times. Upgrades are being made at every level of Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center. The upgrades include new jumbo screens, updated concession stands, a better sound system and an enhanced “fan experience.” The Clippers are scheduled to leave for their new arena in 2024.
  • Which member of the Warriors’ big three will leave? In a mailbag post, Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett speculates that Draymond Green is the only one who might depart in the near future. Stephen Curry has four years left on his deal and is the face of the franchise, while Klay Thompson has two years left on his contract and will likely sign another with Golden State. Green can opt out of his contract after next season and the heavily taxed Warriors may pin their hopes on one of their young frontcourt players emerging at a lower cost, Bulpett writes.

Rockets, Willie Cauley-Stein Agree To One-Year Deal

The Rockets and free agent center Willie Cauley-Stein have agreed to a one-year contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but Charania suggests that Cauley-Stein will compete in training camp for a spot on the regular season roster. That means it’s almost certainly a minimum-salary deal and likely won’t be fully guaranteed.

Cauley-Stein, who will turn 29 next Thursday, appeared in a total of 20 games last season for the Mavericks and Sixers, playing a limited role. In 2020/21, the big man averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 53 contests (17.1 MPG) for Dallas. He has also spent time with Sacramento and Golden State since entering the league as the sixth overall pick in 2015.

The Rockets currently have 20 players under contract, so they’ll have to waive or trade someone in order to make Cauley-Stein’s signing official.

Houston already has 18 players on guaranteed salaries and is considered unlikely to keep most of the players that came over from Dallas in the Christian Wood trade (Marquese Chriss, Trey Burke, Sterling Brown, and Boban Marjanovic). It’s possible one of them will be cut to make room for Cauley-Stein, who could end up competing for a roster spot against fellow bigs like Marjanovic and Bruno Fernando.

Wolves Notes: Cauley-Stein, Edwards, Beverley, Ownership

In an appearance on Darren Wolfson’s The Scoop podcast at SKOR North, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that Minnesota is considering adding a free agent who could help improve the team’s rebounding numbers.

Asked specifically if the Wolves could bring back veteran center Greg Monroe, who was on a 10-day deal with the club earlier this season, Taylor responded, “We’re looking at a number of possibilities.”

According to Wolfson, one possible target the Wolves have discussed internally is Willie Cauley-Stein, who recently spent time in Philadelphia on a 10-day deal. Cody Zeller, who was waived last month while recovering from a procedure on his knee, isn’t currently considered an option, Wolfson adds.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Anthony Edwards has missed the Timberwolves’ last four games due to knee soreness, but Taylor is confident the injury is not a major issue. “We’re dealing with some swelling and some pain,” Taylor told Wolfson. “We just want to buy a little time, but it’s nothing major or anything that will keep him from being out there soon.”
  • Taylor doesn’t anticipate a significant offseason roster shakeup in Minnesota. “Most players are already signed for next year, so there won’t be major changes,” he told Wolfson.
  • One player who had been on track for unrestricted free agency this summer was guard Patrick Beverley, but he signed a one-year, $13MM extension with the Wolves in February. Taylor said that was a fairly straightforward negotiation, since both sides had interest in continuing the relationship, and that the main issue was deciding on the length of the contract. Beverley “preferred to add something longer,” according to Taylor, who said the team wanted to maintain some flexibility beyond 2022/23.
  • Asked by Wolfson if the plan is still for Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore to assume majority control of the Timberwolves in December 2023, Taylor replied, “Probably.” Pressed on whether it could happen sooner than next December or later than that, Taylor said that both scenarios are possible, indicating that nothing is set in stone yet.

DeAndre Jordan Signs With Sixers

MARCH 3, 7:58pm: The Sixers have officially signed Jordan and ended Cauley-Stein’s 10-day deal, the team confirmed in a press release. Jordan will earn a rest-of-season salary of $592,103, while Philadelphia takes on a cap hit of $374,126.


MARCH 3, 1:55pm: Jordan is expected to sign with the Sixers unless a team claims him off waivers prior to the 4:00pm CT deadline Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A waiver claim is considered unlikely, says Wojnarowski.

The Sixers plan to release Willie Cauley-Stein from his 10-day contract a couple days early in order to sign Jordan, Wojnarowski tweets. Cauley-Stein’s 10-day deal had been on track to run through March 5.


FEBRUARY 28: The Sixers are the frontrunners to acquire DeAndre Jordan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, though the timing of such a move will have luxury tax implications.

The Lakers are waiving DeAndre Jordan in order to add free agent guard D.J. Augustin. Once Jordan hits the waiver wire, his veteran’s minimum contract could be claimed by any team. Philadelphia, which has the seventh-best record in the league, is low in the pecking order.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN points out (Twitter link), Philadelphia currently has a projected $13.19MM tax bill and that would rise to $16.1MM if the team claims Jordan and his $1.66MM cap hit.

If the Sixers wait for Jordan to pass through waivers with the hope no other team claims him, they could sign him for the prorated veteran’s minimum. In that scenario, their projected tax bill would only increase to $13.8MM.

The Sixers have been seeking a veteran center to back up Joel Embiid since trading Andre Drummond to Brooklyn in the Ben SimmonsJames Harden blockbuster. They acquired Paul Millsap in that deal but Millsap, 37, is 6’7”’ and a natural forward. They also signed Willie Cauley-Stein to a 10-day deal but may view Jordan as a better option.

Sixers Sign Willie Cauley-Stein To 10-Day Deal

February 24: Philadelphia has officially signed Cauley-Stein to a 10-day deal, the team announced.


February 22: The Sixers are expected to sign free agent center Willie Cauley-Stein to a 10-day contract, according to John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). The team has an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to finalize the signing.

Cauley-Stein, 28, began the season with the Mavericks, averaging 1.9 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 18 games (9.8 MPG) for the club. The veteran big man played his last game for Dallas on November 27 and was unavailable for several weeks after that for personal reasons before eventually being waived on January 15.

The Sixers had to include Andre Drummond in their blockbuster deadline-day trade that netted them James Harden, so there’s been a sense that they’ll use their 15th roster spot sooner or later to add another backup center.

If Cauley-Stein plays well for Philadelphia, it’s possible he’ll earn a longer look from the club. He had a solid season in 2020/21 as the Mavs’ primary backup center, recording 5.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG on 63.2% shooting in 53 games (17.1 MPG).

Cauley-Stein will earn $120,083 over the course of his 10-day deal, with the Sixers taking on a $95,930 cap hit.

Southwest Notes: Bane, McDermott, Murray, Cauley-Stein

Desmond Bane‘s surprising season with the Grizzlies makes him seem like a huge draft-night mistake by the Celtics, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston selected Bane with the 30th pick in 2020 and immediately traded him to Memphis for a pair of second-rounders because of luxury tax concerns. Bane has become a full-time starter in his second NBA season and is averaging 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds through 44 games.

“I never knew it was Boston’s pick,” Bane recalled. “Everything was going on so fast, I had seen (the report) that the Grizzlies draft Desmond Bane at No. 30, so most guys put on the Celtics hat, I had a Grizzlies hat before they even put me on the TV screen. I was Grizzlies all the way.”

Bane has become an ideal backcourt partner for Ja Morant and has helped transform Memphis into a Western Conference contender at 30-15. He believes he should have been drafted higher and uses his status at No. 30 as inspiration.

“I’m always trying to keep the chip on my shoulder throughout all of it, regardless what I’ve done to this point in my career,” he said. “There’s still a lot of room to grow and improve.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Doug McDermott was one of the first Spurs players to enter health and safety protocols and one of the last to be cleared, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDermott, who returned to the court Friday, was stuck in a Detroit hotel room for six days, then had to wait even longer after returning home because contagion-level tests showed that he still presented a danger. “It’s a tough way to learn, just having a ball and just myself in the gym,” he said after missing seven games. “It’s hard to simulate the NBA speed of the game.”
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray is playing at an All-Star level, but he’s not enjoying it because the team isn’t winning, McDonald adds in a separate story. Murray has averaged 25.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.2 steals over the past six games, but San Antonio is just 1-5 during that stretch. “When you lose, it wasn’t enough,” Murray said. “It means zero. I want no credit for losing basketball games.”
  • Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said it was difficult to tell Willie Cauley-Stein that he was being waived, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Harrison said the team will continue supporting Cauley-Stein through the personal situation that resulted in him not playing since late November.

Mavericks Waive Willie Cauley-Stein, Sign Marquese Chriss To Two-Year Deal

6:22pm: Both moves are official, the Mavericks announced (via Twitter).


4:08pm: The Mavericks will sign hardship addition Marquese Chriss to a two-year contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Willie Cauley-Stein will be waived to make room on the 15-man roster. 

Chriss, who signed his third 10-day deal with Dallas under the hardship provision earlier this week, has been productive since joining the team in December. He has appeared in 12 games, all off the bench, and is averaging 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per night.

Chriss will earn a prorated minimum salary for the rest of the season and a standard minimum in 2022/23 for a player with six years of service, giving him roughly $3MM overall, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. It’s unclear at this point if next season’s salary will be guaranteed.

The 24-year-old was taken by the Suns with the eighth pick in the 2016 draft, but hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed during his rookie season. He also spent time with the Rockets, Cavaliers and Warriors, but was out of the league until COVID-19 forced teams to seek emergency replacements.

Cauley-Stein is in his seventh NBA season and his third with the Mavericks. He’s averaging 1.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 18 games, but hasn’t played since November 27.

The 28-year-old center is making $4.1MM on an expiring contract. Dallas will still owe him the remainder of that salary (about $1.95MM) unless he is claimed on waivers, according to Marks (Twitter link). The sixth pick in the 2015 draft, Cauley-Stein signed with the Mavericks as a free agent before the start of the 2020/21 season.

Mavs’ Maxi Kleber Enters Protocols

Maxi Kleber has been added to the list of Mavericks players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets.

Kleber joins Reggie Bullock and Josh Green in the COVID-19 protocols. Luka Doncic (left ankle soreness), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons) and Eugene Omoruyi (right foot injury) will also miss Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves. Minnesota has five players in the protocols.

Kristaps Porzingis (toe soreness) is questionable to play.

Kleber played 31 minutes against Minnesota, contributing six points and 14 rebounds. He’s averaging 7.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG.

The Mavs have signed Theo Pinson and are planning to sign Marquese Chriss via the hardship exemption to fortify the roster. Dallas also has two assistant coaches, Jared Dudley and Darrell Armstrong, who have been placed in protocols.

Mavs Exercise Team Option On Willie Cauley-Stein

The Mavericks are exercising their team option on reserve center Willie Cauley-Stein, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The option will pay Cauley-Stein $4.1MM for the 2021/22 season.

During his second year (and first full season) in Dallas in 2020/21, Cauley-Stein averaged 5.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 0.8 BPG over 17.1 MPG in 53 games. After being selected with the sixth pick out of Kentucky in 2015 by the Kings, Cauley-Stein spent his first four NBA seasons in Sacramento.

The seven-footer enjoyed several productive runs on lottery-bound Kings squads, averaging 11.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.2 SPG during his first — and so far only — year as a full-time starter, 2018/19.

He then joined the Warriors as a free agent in 2019, hoping to fill the same two-way, low-usage center role within that club’s humming offense that helped JaVale McGee win two titles in Golden State. Despite being a starter with Golden State, Cauley-Stein was shipped out out in 2020 to the Mavericks, where he finished off that pandemic-truncated season as a backup behind Maxi Kleber.

Holding on to Cauley-Stein seems like a savvy, cost-efficient move for the Mavs. At 27, the athletic rim-rolling big man could still have untapped upside and room to grow with Dallas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Dinwiddie, Schröder, Oubre, Cauley-Stein

The idea of Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie replacing Russell Westbrook as the Wizards‘ point guard seems to be gaining momentum.

After multiple reporters mentioned the Dinwiddie-to-D.C. possibility earlier in the week, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer writes today that with Chris Paul likely to return to the Suns, Dinwiddie is expected to be the next free agent point guard off the board. A sign-and-trade that sends either Kyle Kuzma or Montrezl Harrell to the Nets and Dinwiddie to the Wizards is a real possibility, Fischer suggests.

Fischer adds that the Nets are continuing to look for ways to move off of DeAndre Jordan‘s contract.

We have more free agency rumors:

  • According to Zach Lowe of ESPN neither the Wizards nor the Kings are interested in a sign-and-trade for Dennis Schröder. That means Buddy Hield may be out as an option for the Lakers, and it will be a challenge to expand the Lakers/Wizards blockbuster any further using Schröder. As Lowe notes, a handful of teams in need of a point guard have ample cap space, so there will be few paths for the Lakers to recoup value for losing Schröder.
  • Kelly Oubre has interest in the Spurs and believes his career could flourish under Gregg Popovich and the team’s renowned development staff, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. If the Spurs renounce some of their current free agents, they’d have more than enough space to make a big free agent signing, though it’s unclear whether Oubre would be at the top of their list, especially given his skill-set/positional overlap with Keldon Johnson.
  • The Mavericks are leaning toward picking up the $4.1MM team option on center Willie Cauley-Stein, which would keep him off the free agent market, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. MacMahon writes that Dallas likes the young rim-running big man, but the decision will ultimately hinge on whether or not an opportunity comes up that requires the team to move on from Cauley-Stein.