Willie Cauley-Stein didn't hold back last year during Kings Media Day. The former lottery pick wanted a lot more money in the bank.
“I’m ready to get paid,” Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports California's James Ham. “This is what we’ve got to do, that’s what type of focus I’m on."
Cauley-Stein certainly envisioned signing for more than $4.4 million this past offseason. He saw a big payday in his future as a free agent, but that didn't quite happen. Instead, the athletic center turned down more money to sign with the Warriors.
The Hornets offered Cauley-Stein a $9-million contract, the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau reported Wednesday, but the Kentucky product had something more important on his mind: Winning.
Cauley-Stein signed a two-year deal with the Warriors on July 9, with a player option fir the second season. Coach Steve Kerr told the former Kings center that his skills in the pick-and-roll would fit perfectly with D'Angelo Russell.
After four straight losing seasons in Sacramento, it's easy to see why Cauley-Stein would sign with the Warriors. He saw a future sharing the court with Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Russell. Instead, all three are hurt, and the Dubs are leaning on their rookies.
Cauley-Stein missed the start of his first season as a Warrior with a left mid-foot strain. He now has played four games with the Warriors and is averaging 9.0 points and 5.3 rebounds over 16.5 minutes per game as he regains his strength and endurance.
This isn't the start to the season that Cauley-Stein had in mind, but he doesn't seem to have any regrets joining Golden State.