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Willie Cauley-Stein no longer a restricted free agent

The former UK big man can now sign freely with any NBA team.

Arkansas at Kentucky Pablo Alcala/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS via Getty Images

Willie Cauley-Stein now gets to fully embrace NBA free agency.

Initially, Willie was set to become a restricted free agent for the Sacramento Kings, giving them the chance to match any deal another team offered the former UK big man. But before free agency opened, Willie pleaded with the Kings to rescind the RFA tag in hopes of getting a fresh start elsewhere.

Now, he will get his wish, as the Kings are allowing Willie to become an unrestricted free agent, according to NBA reporter Sam Amick.

The 7-foot center is coming off of a 2018-19 season in which he played 81 games and averaged 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals over 27.3 minutes per game. He shot 55.6 percent from the floor but just 55.1 percent from the free-throw line.

The 25-year-old big man is now looking for his first major NBA payday now that he’s finished his rookie contract after being the sixth overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.

I’d expect teams like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers to show interest. They’re both competing to win their respective conferences but are also in dire need of bigs.

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