Willie Cauley-Stein has agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Rockets, according to sources. This is a non-guaranteed deal. The seventh-year NBA veteran center was selected sixth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Through 422 career games, the former Kentucky center has averaged 8.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He played with the Kings from 2015–19.
On February 23, 2017, in the Kings’ 116-100 win over the Denver Nuggets, the Kansas native scored a career-high 29 points in 35 minutes of action. Along with accumulating 10 rebounds, he also finished 14-of-22 (63.6%) shooting from the field.
Then, he signed as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors on July 8, 2019. In 41 games played with the Dubs, Cauley-Stein averaged 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
However, on January 25, 2020, the Warriors traded the center to the Dallas Mavericks for a 2020 second-round draft pick. At the end of the year, Cauley-Stein signed a multi-year deal with the Mavs in December.
During the 2020-21 season, in 53 games played and 16 starts, the center averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Also, he shot 63.2% from the field.
Willie Cauley-Stein will train for a roster spot on the Rockets
After 18 games played with the Mavs in the 2021-22 season, the team waived the Kentucky product on January 15, 2022. Following his release, on Feb. 24, he signed a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. Though, the center only appeared in two games with the Sixers.
Last season, in 20 games played, Cauley-Stein averaged 1.7 points and 2 rebounds per game. Plus, he averaged 45.7% shooting from the floor and 50% from 3-point range.
Moreover, Rockets fans are speculating that G.M. Rafael Stone will have to waive a couple of role players from the Christian Wood trade.
In June, the Rockets traded Wood to the Mavericks for Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, Boban Marjanovic and Wendell Moore Jr.
As of now, in addition to Cauley-Stein, Houston’s center rotation includes Alperen Sengun, Marjanovic, Bruno Fernando and rookie first-round pick Jabari Smith Jr.
Considering roster cuts are on the horizon, Marjanovic, Cauley-Stein and Fernando will have to give it their all during training camp. Just one will likely make the final roster. Per league rules, a maximum of 15 players are allowed on an NBA team.
Willie Cauley-Stein turns 29 on Thursday, Aug. 18.
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