Warriors profile: Willie Cauley-Stein looking forward to fresh start


Editor's note: The Warriors' roster looks completely different than it did at this time last year. Golden State enters a new era at Chase Center with an injured Klay Thompson and without dynasty mainstays Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

As the Warriors' offseason goes on, we'll do a profile on every player on the revamped roster. Thursday's edition focuses on Willie Cauley-Stein.


2 year / $4,463,840  (player option for the 2020-21 season) 

Last season

During media day last year, Cauley-Stein stated his intentions were to "get paid" by the ascending Sacramento Kings. 

In the months to come, Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and a career-high 8.4 rebounds -- helping the Kings win 39 games -- its most in a decade. He did most of his scoring in the restricted area. Of his 741 shot attempts, 616 came less than eight feet from the basket, giving the Kings an effective offensive force down low.

However, following the season, Cauley Stein's agent Roger Montgomery told the Sacramento Bee his client did not want to return to the Kings -- encouraging the team not to extend a $6.2 million qualifying offer -- saying the big man needed a "fresh start." 

“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 told the paper. “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.”

Nearly two weeks after his agent's declaration, a new opportunity would come in Golden State, giving Cauley-Stein another chance to make good on last season's hope for a big payday. 

"It honestly just came down to situation," Cauley-Stein said. "I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security."


While he had his best year as a pro last season, Cauley-Stein has built up a reputation of being inconsistent. While he doesn't agree with the label, he acknowledged the Warriors' culture could help him during his tenure.

"I don’t really look at it like inconsistency," Cauley-Stein said earlier this month. "Numbers don’t lie. I think it’s pretty cut and dry what consistency is."

[RELATED: NBA offseason grades: How Warriors emerged from wild summer of change]

"But I think it goes both ways," he added. "Being more vocal, I think that’s something as a professional you have to be really good at. You have to be able to speak your mind."

With the Warriors, Cauley-Stein's addition adds an element it's been missing since JaVale McGee left in free agency last summer: A consistent lob threat. While he'll be in competition for the starting center spot, Cauley-Stein is expected to play alongside D'Angelo Russell in pick and roll situations. 

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