Willie Cauley-Stein’s future remains unclear.
The Kings have until June 30 to extend the 25-year-old center a qualifying offer, which would make him a restricted free agent this summer. General manager Vlade Divac, however, said the team was still considering its options.
“It’s a tough question,” Divac said during a recent interview with The Sacramento Bee. “We would like to keep Willie in terms of his talent potential, but he still needs to show us the consistency that we are looking for. We are talking.”
Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 81 appearances for the Kings this season. He also dished out 2.4 assists per game and shot 55.6% from the field.
“I’ve gotten better every year,” Cauley-Stein told The Sacramento Bee. “I’m only going to continue to get better and better, and I’m just scratching the surface. I’m 25 years old and I’ve been hooping at a high level for a long time.”
The Kings originally selected Cauley-Stein out Kentucky with the sixth pick in the 2015 draft. He has spent his entire four-year career with the franchise.
“I just want to hoop freely,” Cauley-Stein said. “That’s kind of the biggest thing for me, just going somewhere, whether it’s here or anywhere else, just taking that next evolution to the game where you’re not just a rim runner. You’re a pick-and-pop guy sometimes. You can get rolling with what the defense gives you.”
The Kings “have placed an emphasis on improving the center position” this summer, according to an earlier report from NBC Sports Bay Area. They had been linked to Nikola Vucevic, but they’re unlikely to pursue him, that report says.
Sacramento could look to add Dewayne Dedmon or DeAndre Jordan, NBC Sports’ report notes. It also may try to sign Jonas Valanciunas.
The Kings finished last season with a 39-43 and missed the playoffs for a 13th straight season. They’ve also been linked to 76ers forward Tobias Harris.