The agent for center Willie Cauley-Stein has encouraged the Sacramento Kings to allow his client to become an unrestricted free agent.
“I’m hopeful they will not even give Willie his qualifying offer,” Roger Montgomery of Roc Nation Sports told the Sacramento Bee.
A former Kentucky star, Cauley-Stein has played all four of his NBA seasons in Sacramento since it took him sixth overall in the 2015 draft. With his rookie contract expiring this month, he would become a restricted free agent — giving Sacramento the ability to match offers from other teams — if the Kings first extend a $6,265,631 million qualifying offer by June 30.
“I really think Willie needs a fresh start,” Montgomery told the Bee. “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, 25, holds career per-game averages of 10.1 points on 53.4 percent shooting to go with 6.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. He excels running the floor for a Kings team that likes to play at pace, giving Sacramento an athletic 7-foot center who can take some of the focus away from defenses, can pass the ball and can finish at the rim.
But consistency has been a trouble spot for Cauley-Stein. He started this past season by averaging 17.4 points in October, but his numbers dipped after that, including two months (February and April) in which he failed to average double figures in scoring.
The Kings issued a brief statement to the Sacramento Bee, saying, “Willie is a great player who has shown he can fit our style of play.”
But Montgomery said the pieces were not fitting together for his client and cited turnover in both the Kings’ roster and coaching staff. The Kings hired Luke Walton as head coach in April to replace Dave Joerger.
“We haven’t felt that he’s been able to get what has been necessary for him to be able to lead the franchise the way he wants to,” Montgomery said. “We are very, very thankful for the opportunity that was presented to him, but we just think it’s not working. It’s not going to work. It’s just time for a fresh start. We need a fresh start and maybe the Kings do, too.”