SALT LAKE CITY – The Mavericks have moved swiftly for a proven contributor to fill the void left by Dwight Powell’s injury.
Willie Cauley-Stein, a 7-foot center, will be joining the Mavericks in a deal that sends Detroit’s second-round draft choice in 2020 to the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks officially announced the trade Saturday afternoon after Isaiah Roby cleared his physical in Oklahoma City, to whom he was traded on Friday.
Cauley-Stein, 26, is in his fifth season and is primarily an inside player, which should free up Kristaps Porzingis to move back to power forward offensively, where he is best suited.
The Mavericks cleared a roster spot for Cauley-Stein by shipping rookie forward Roby to Oklahoma City for Justin Patton. The Mavericks also received cash considerations from the Thunder. That deal was made official after Roby’s physical and the Mavericks then waived Patton to make room for Cauley-Stein.
The Mavericks had been considering many options since Powell went down early in Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a ruptured right Achilles tendon. He had started 37 games at center and was averaging 9.4 points and 5.7 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game.
In Cauley-Stein, the Mavericks are getting a player who had his best season in 2018-19 with Sacramento, when he averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds while starting 81 games and playing 27.3 minutes per game.
He signed with Golden State in the summer as a free agent at a very team-friendly contract: two years, $4.5-million with the second season at Cauley-Stein’s option.
Powell’s absence left a major hole in the Mavericks’ lineup. He meshed very well with Luka Doncic on the pick-and-roll and with Porzingis because Powell could play center offensively and power forward defensively.
Cauley-Stein is considered to be a fierce rim-runner when working in the pick-and-roll. He’s also upped his defensive game this season and is a better-than-average rebounder. His quick feet allow him to guard a multitude of different players.
The Warriors are trudging along with the worst record in the NBA, 10-36. Obviously, they are trying to acquire assets for the future when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return next season.
The Mavericks had to give up Roby to make room for the acquisition of Cauley-Stein. The rookie out of Nebraska was the 45th pick and was traded by Detroit to Dallas on draft night. He did not play a minute for the Mavericks, but averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in nine games for the Texas Legends in the G-League.
Here is the official release from the Mavericks on the Cauley-Stein trade:
MAVERICKS ACQUIRE WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired center Willie Cauley-Stein from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Utah’s 2020 second-round pick that was acquired by Dallas in a draft day trade made with Detroit this past summer. In a related move, Dallas has also requested waivers on center Justin Patton.
Cauley-Stein (7-0, 240) holds career averages of 9.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 0.8 blocks and 23.9 minutes per game in 336 games (235 starts) with Sacramento and Golden State. The fifth-year center, who is a career 53.6 percent shooter, has shot at least 50 percent from the floor in every one of his professional seasons.
The 7-footer spent the first half of the 2019-20 campaign with the Warriors after signing with the team this past offseason. In 41 games (37 starts) this year, he is averaging 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and a career-high 1.2 blocks in 23.0 minutes per game.
Cauley-Stein earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors with Sacramento in 2015-16. Last season, he appeared in a career-high 81 games (all starts) for the Kings while averaging 11.9 points, a career-high 8.4 rebounds, a career-high-tying 2.4 assists and a career-best 1.2 steals in 27.3 minutes per contest. He also produced a career-high 22 double-doubles in 2018-19.
The Spearville, Kan., native was the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Sacramento after a three-year college career at Kentucky. As a junior (2014-15), he was named First Team All-SEC, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American. Cauley-Stein was also a two-time All-SEC Defensive Team selection (2013-14, 2014-15) and garnered SEC All-Freshman Team honors for the Wildcats in 2012-13.
Patton (7-0, 241) was acquired by the Mavericks along with cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday in exchange for forward Isaiah Roby.