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Willie Cauley-Stein’s future with the Sacramento Kings appears to be cloudy, at best.
Cauley-Stein’s agent, Roger Montgomery of Roc Nation Sports, told Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee the center has decided he wants a new opportunity with another team.
“I really think Willie needs a fresh start,” Montgomery said, according to Anderson.”I just think it’s time for Willie to move on and we’d really like him to move on.”
The Kings reacted to Montgomery’s comments by issuing a statement to Anderson.
“Willie is a great player who has shown he can fit our style of play,” the team said. “Beyond that, we can’t comment further.”
Sacramento has until June 30 to issue a qualifying offer to Cauley-Stein that would make him a restricted free agent.
Cauley-Stein, 25, just finished the final season of his four-year, $15.4 million rookie-scale contract.
If the Kings extend a qualifying offer to Cauley-Stein it would give them the right to match any offer he receives. Restricted free agents can sign offer sheets with other teams, but his original team has 72 hours to match that offer and retain him.
Obviously, Cauley-Stein does not want that to take place.
“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.”
Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 81 starts for the Kings last season, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 55.1 percent from the free-throw line.
The sixth overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, the 7-foot Cauley-Stein carries career averages of 10.1 points, 6.4 boards ad 1.6 dimes in 24.0 minutes in 205 games (199 starts), shooting 53.4 percent form the field and 61.1 percent from the charity stripe.
Cauley-Stein was the first player selected by Kings general manager Vlade Divac.
“It’s a tough question,” Divac said, according to Anderson. “We would like to keep Willie in terms of his talent potential, but he still needs to show us the consistency that we are looking for. We are talking.”
Cauley-Stein told Anderson in March while it would be difficult to depart Sacramento, he believes he has not reached his full potential while playing for the Kings.
“Sacramento has been my home for the last four years,” he said. “It would be hard to leave, but at the end of the day it’s a job, and whoever is the best fit for me to take that next leap in my career — that’s what it’s all about.
“I just want to hoop freely. That’s kind of the biggest thing for me, just going somewhere, whether it’s here or anywhere else, just taking that next evolution to the game where you’re not just a rim runner. You’re a pick-and-pop guy sometimes. You can get rolling with what the defense gives you. I wanna be that dude.”
His agent believes a fresh start is needed for that to transpire.
“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.”