The Kings rescinded their qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein and agreed to terms with point guard Cory Joseph late Sunday night, a league source told The Sacramento Bee, capping a wild first day of free agency in the NBA.
Sacramento’s decision to withdraw Cauley-Stein’s $6.3-million qualifying offer removed his $14-million cap hold. That gave the Kings enough salary cap space to sign Joseph, who agreed to a three-year, $37-million deal with a partial guarantee in the third year.
Earlier Sunday, the Kings re-signed small forward Harrison Barnes and agreed to terms with two other players, center Dewayne Dedmon and small forward Trevor Ariza, a league source said. Deals can’t be finalized until the free-agency moratorium ends July 6.
Joseph, 27, gives the Kings a defensive-minded backup point guard. Joseph is an eight-year NBA veteran who spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, two seasons with the Toronto Raptors and two seasons with the Indiana Pacers.
Joseph averaged 6.5 points, 3.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 25.2 minutes per game for the Pacers last season. Joseph shot just 41.2 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3-point range last season, but at 6-foot-3 and 193 pounds, he excels as a defensive specialist.
Meanwhile, Cauley-Stein finally got his wish after his agent, Roger Montgomery of Roc Nation Sports, told The Sacramento Bee his client wanted a fresh start somewhere else. The Kings extended the qualifying offer to Cauley-Stein, making him a restricted free agent and keeping their options open while they shopped the free-agent market, but they had the right to rescind the offer at any time.
Cauley-Stein, 25, is now an unrestricted free agent. The Kings selected him with the sixth pick in the 2015 draft out of Kentucky. He averaged 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals last season. His quickness and athleticism were ideal for Sacramento’s run-and-gun system, but he has been plagued by inconsistency throughout his career.