Mavs Get Immense Value in Cauley-Stein


The Dallas Mavericks are no strangers to mid-season trades before the deadline. In fact, the previous three seasons the team made a move in an attempt to improve. This season is no different, recently the team sent a second-round pick that belonged to the Utah Jazz to the Golden State Warriors for center, Willie Cauley-Stein.

The Mavericks’ frontcourt heading into the season was already thin. The team had been rumored to be in search for a big man before the trade deadline approached. When starting center Dwight Powell ruptured his Achilles against the Los Angeles Clippers, it became all too clear that they would need to make a move quickly.


After being selected 6th overall in the 2015 draft and playing his first four seasons for the Sacramento Kings, their relationship didn’t appear to be one worth fighting for. Although he has the athletic tools to be worthy of his draft position, there have been concerns about his work ethic and desire to play. When the Kings rescinded their offer to make him a restricted free agent, it was time for both side to go their separate ways.

The Willie Cauley-Stein experience also wasn’t working out in Golden State as most had planned. However, most things in Golden State this season haven’t worked out either. In the off-season, he signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the team in hopes of rebuilding his image.

Being traded for a second-round pick that is currently projecting to be near the end of the draft also doesn’t bode well for a tarnished image. Be that as it may, his time spent in those two previous organizations can not be classified as quality basketball. He’ll have another opportunity to prove to the league that he belongs.


In Dallas, Cauley-Stein has an opportunity to reinvent himself once again. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year during the 2014-15 season. That team also featured Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker. He has not lived up to that billing so far in his NBA career, however.

He projects to slide into the spot vacated by Powell. While much of the defensive duties in the front court will fall to Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, Cauley-Stein is going to be relied upon to be active and hustle hard. He may not be quite the rim-runner Powell was, but playing alongside a player-maker with Luka Doncic‘s ability can do wonders for an NBA player’s career (i.e. Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, and Kleber).

This is a very low-cost move for the Mavericks. They essentially gave up next to nothing to acquire a starting center. In Cauley-Stein’s contract, he has the ability to opt out after this season. If things do not work out, he’ll enter free agency again and the Mavericks lose an asset they most likely were not going to use anyways.


Let’s face it, this isn’t a blockbuster trade. It’s not one that raises eyebrows beyond the two teams involved either. However, it’s a deal that benefits both teams fairly equally.

For the Dallas Mavericks, their grade here is an A. As noted earlier, they give up an asset that doesn’t hold too much value. In return, they get a player in need of some fresh air, who also fills a void on the roster.

For the Golden State Warriors, they also get an A. Financially, the trade drops them below the salary cap by over $2.5 million. An added benefit is that more minutes are now freed up for players who project to be in the Warriors future, something that Willie Cauley-Stein currently wasn’t.

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