Dallas Mavericks player facing make or break season: 3. Willie Cauley-Stein
The Mavs picked up Cauley-Stein’s $4.2 million option for this season, but the 28-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022. Dallas has several centers on their roster, and they could look to move on if Trill fails to perform in new head coach Jason Kidd’s system.
Cauley-Stein averaged 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 17.1 minutes per game last season. His advanced metrics were strong, but former coach Rick Carlisle had a quick hook if WCS was not performing well. His energy and effort are contagious, but Cauley-Stein struggles with consistency. Can he earn another contract with the Mavericks this season by starring in his role?
Cauley-Stein did a guest appearance on the Inked NBA podcast on Sept. 16 where he talked about a lack of interest among NBA teams before Dallas signed him in 2020. That could mean Trill is fighting for his NBA career this season. If he struggles, Cauley-Stein’s free-agent offers could dry up. A lot of teams are shying away from signing backup centers above the minimum, so Trill is playing for a larger paycheck in this make-or-break season with the Dallas Mavericks.