The will-he-won’t-he saga surrounding Dallas Mavericks big man Willie Cauley-Stein continues. Another report surfaced with information about his player option decision. Cauley-Stein is expected to decline his $2.28 million option for the coming season, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, becoming a free agent.
This is the second report that Cauley-Stein, 27, intends to decline his option. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News was the first to state that the Mavericks expected him to opt out of his current contract and test the market.
Previously, ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that both Cauley-Stein and Tim Hardaway Jr. were expected to opt into the final year of their deals. That is still the assumption with Hardaway, according to Townsend. He will earn $18.97 million this season.
Cauley-Stein’s decision to become an unrestricted free agent is likely financially motivated. The former No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has been posting videos to social media showing him in the gym, working on his game during the off-season. There’s an intentional marketing and psychological aspect to them.
However, his intent is to sign a larger contract comes with some risks. If he can’t find a suitor willing to pay up, Cauley-Stein may be forced to settle for a minimum salary somewhere. That would mean a pay cut. His minimum is worth $1.88 million.
Of course, there hasn’t been an official statement from Cauley-Stein nor the Mavericks yet. Still, it’s something to note as the Mavericks weigh their options during free agency.