DALLAS - Not long ago, Willie Cauley-Stein told DallasBasketball.com that his plan was to opt-in on his contract and remain a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
Cauley-Stein was set to earn just over $2.2 million, maybe the reason that according to reports he has changed his mind and chosen to opt-out.
A Mavs source told us this week that the ESPN report of the center opting in was "premature,'' and indeed, Cauley-Stein - despite having just purchased a home with his family in DFW - is set now to be a free agent.
Willie Cauley-Stein was a late-season signee and a player viewed as helpful by Dallas, though the front-court cupboard here is fairly full, with the battling for minutes also includes Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, and Boban Marjanovic, all lining up behind Kristaps Porzingis.
Meanwhile, while it is also assumed that Tim Hardaway Jr. will opt-in by the end-of-the-week deadline - THJ is set to make $18.975 million in the final year of his deal, and Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells DBcom that Hardaway is seen as "a perfect fit and a key piece'' for the Mavs - that move is not yet official as we write this.
READ MORE: Mavs NBA Rumor Tracker
READ MORE: 1-on-1 With Mavs GM Donnie Nelson
Hardaway Jr. last year served as the team’s third scorer after being considered a "throw-in'' and "salary ballast'' in the blockbuster trade with the Knicks that brought Porzingis to Dallas.