Willie Cauley-Stein almost missed his opportunity to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
A first-time free agent, Cauley-Stein explained to NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday that a new hobby he picked up, fishing, made it hard for his agent — and Warriors officials — to reach him.
"I picked up fishing because I was like, 'I need to do something with this time.' Sitting there waiting was just so brutal on my mental (health),” Cauley-Stein explained.
The fifth-year big man said he was out “in the boonies” fishing on a lake when he got a call from his agent wondering where he was. The Warriors were trying to reach him, his agent explained, so Cauley-Stein had to abort the fishing trip and get back to dry land where he had better cellphone reception.
“I had to drive two miles up the road to get service so I could talk on the phone,” Cauley-Stein said.
Willie Cauley-Stein with a great story of how he signed with the Warriors 😂 pic.twitter.com/umI5GlRksr
— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) July 9, 2019
With teams working to fill their rosters with dwindling salary cap space, timing is of the essence in free agency. Cauley-Stein was a bit indecisive at first and soon learned that the Warriors had agreed to bring back center Kevon Looney.
But Cauley-Stein said he was told by Warriors coach Steve Kerr that the team still wanted him. That straightforwardness from Kerr and the organization put the Warriors over the top, he said.
Cauley-Stein, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings, ended up signing a reported two-year, $4.4 million contract with the Warriors. Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field last year.
He and Looney could prove to be one of the more underrated big man duos in the West.
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