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Mavericks reportedly "leaning toward" keeping Willie Cauley-Stein for 2021-22 season [UPDATED]

Article written by:On3 imageZack Geoghegan


Willie Cauley-Stein
<small>(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)</small>

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Mavericks are interested in keeping an excellent role player around for another season.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the Dallas Mavericks are “leaning toward” picking up the team option for center Willie Cauley-Stein, which would keep him around for the 2021-22 season. Dallas has until Sunday to either pick up his $4.1 million option or let him test free agency. Barring something unexpected, Cauley-Stein should be staying in Dallas for one more year.

WCS initially signed with the Mavericks during the 2020 offseason on a two-year, $8.2 million deal with a club option in year two. During the 2020-21 season, Cauley-Stein averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 56 outings, including 16 starts. He provides a necessary rebounding boost off the bench for the Mavs while shooting over 63 percent from the floor, mostly around the rim. The 27-year old is a solid option as the backup center for a team looking to make the playoffs again, especially with question marks surrounding Kristaps Porzingis’ future in Dallas. WCS is a good insurance move to ensure at least one rebounding seven-footer is on the roster.

Cauley-Stein is about to enter his seventh season in the NBA after three seasons at Kentucky (2012-15) and has comfortably settled into his role as a rim-runner and rebounder at the professional level. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings before moving to the Golden State Warriors for one season and then to Dallas. Had he entered free agency this summer, one could argue that he would garner more than $4.1 million on the market.

Best of luck to Willie!

[UPDATE: 4:51 p.m. on August 1 – Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Mavericks have officially picked up the option for Willie Cauley-Stein.]

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