LAS VEGAS - For the last decade, the Golden State Warriors have developed into one of the best environments in the NBA. So when the team reached out to Willie Cauley-Stein - armed with a one-year contract worth just over the veteran's minimum - it was an easy decision for the former Sacramento King.
"Got the phone call and I just don’t know how you could turn that down," Cauley Stein said Monday evening. "Talking to Steve (Kerr), Draymond (Green), Steph (Curry), they were all really excited. It was pretty easy on me."
Cauley-Stein's decision to come to the Warriors came weeks after his agent Roger Montgomery told the Sacramento Bee his client did not want to return to the Kings, despite the team winning 39 games - their most in a decade - and Cauley-Stein averaging 11.9 points and a career-high 8.4 rebounds.
In his first comments since signing with Golden State, the four-year big man shed more light on his decision-making process.
"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.
"I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league," he added. "It was a really easy decision on me and my team’s part."
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. "Numbers don’t lie. I think it’s pretty cut and dry what consistency is.
"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."
Cauley-Stein's addition adds an element it's been missing since JaVale McGee left in free agency last summer: A consistent lob threat.
With the acquiring of D'Angelo Russell in free agency to pair with Curry, Green and Klay Thompson, Cauley Stein believes he'll be able to thrive in Golden State.
"I’ve been imagining it for a while. It’s crazy it’s actually happening," Cauley-Stein said. "Me and my friends talk about it all the time. Guys (have to) damn near not guard me now. Because they have to guard Klay, Steph, DLo. How you gonna guard the big? Because, you know, you gotta tag. If you don’t tag, it’s a lob. If you do tag, it’s a 3. Pick your poison."