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Sacramento Kings extend qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein

Willie is now a restricted free agent

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings have extended a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, and confirmed by James Ham. The move makes Willie Cauley-Stein a restricted free agent. Today was the deadline for the Kings to extend the offer.

This move makes Willie a restricted free agent, meaning the Kings have the option to match any offer sheet Willie signs with another team. Willie also has the option to sign the Qualifying Offer, which would put him under contract with the Kings for the next year at a salary of roughly $6.2 million. In this scenario, Willie would also have the ability to veto any trade, and would become an unrestricted free agent next summer. This move also places a cap hold on the Kings cap sheet for approximately $14 million. The Kings have the option to rescind the QO at any time if they need to use the cap space.

While most Kings fans and pundits expect the Kings to move on from Willie, this move is standard practice in the NBA. There’s no season letting Willie become an unrestricted free agent until the Kings need the cap space. Despite Willie’s agent publicly asking the Kings not to extend to Qualifying Offer, this was always a foregone conclusion.

Free agency begins June 30th at 6 PM ET.