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Willie Cauley-Stein says he has ‘decent’ Kings debut

Video: Sacramento Kings rookie Willie Cauley-Stein assesses Summer League loss

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If anything, Willie Cauley-Stein is honest when assessing his play.

Following the rookie center’s summer league debut, Cauley-Stein didn’t seem to remember the highlight-type blocked shots.

“Not good, not bad, just kind of decent,” is how Cauley-Stein summed up his game. “I had some good plays, but I had some plays where I’d tip a ball I could get but they’d get and they’d score. That type of stuff.”

The Kings lost to the Toronto Raptors 90-68 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Cauley-Stein had 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks. He made 4 of 9 shots but also blew chances to make shots at the rim.

By his count, Cauley-Stein should have had “two or three” dunks.

“I thought I had a good pace, but just finishing, that’s my big emphasis,” Cauley-Stein said. “Finishing around the rim, and I thought we gave up a lot of layups.”

Cauley-Stein did show the kind of hustle defensively the Kings want to see, even if the rookie sees a lot more he can do.

“I think Willie’s first strength is going to be his pick-and-roll defense,” said Kings assistant coach Chad Iske. “His feet are so quick, and that’s going to be a big asset. Second will be his ability to protect the rim and get back on defense.”

Cauley-Stein lamented the Raptors’ layups, saying it’s up to the big men, including himself, to do a better job of keeping scorers away from the basket.

“He has to be a rim protector for us,” Iske said. “That’s why we drafted him.”

John Welch of the Sacramento Kings talks about the team's performance and looks for ways to improve. Video by Jason Jones, The Sacramento Bee.

Iske thought Cauley-Stein had good scoring chances at the rim when the Kings played with proper spacing. Cauley-Stein can credit his college experience for making his adjustments on where to be on offense easier.

“(Playing with spacing is) not bad,” Cauley-Stein said. “At Kentucky, we play that far anyways. We played with the NBA three for spacing, so it’s not as challenging as it might be for other guys.”

Away from the court, the Kings continued to add experience to the roster.

The team reached an agreement with free-agent forward Caron Butler on a two-year contract. Butler averaged 5.9 points in 78 games with Detroit last season.

Butler, 35, is the third veteran the Kings will add who has won an NBA championship. Butler was a part of the Dallas team that won the title in 2011.

The Kings wanted to add another small forward with Rudy Gay expected to play much more at power forward this season.

Sacramento also announced the trade to send Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson to Philadelphia is official. The deal frees up about $16 million under the salary cap for the Kings, who now can sign their free agents.

Deals with Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli, Kostas Koufos and Omri Casspi should be signed this weekend.

Sacramento received the draft rights to center Arturas Gudaitis and forward Luka Mitrovic from the 76ers in the deal. Neither is expected to join the Kings in the immediate future.

Philadelphia also has the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017 with Sacramento and gets a top-10 protected first-round pick from the Kings in 2018.

Gudaitis (6-10, 254) was the 47th overall pick in last month’s draft. He plays for BC Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian Basketball League.

Mitrovic (6-9, 225) was the 60th pick in the draft last month. He plays for Crvena Zvezda Belgrade of the Basketball League of Serbia. He averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24.7 minutes in 24 games with 20 starts.

Crvena Zvezda won the Adriatic League championship, the Serbian League championship and the Radivoj Korać Cup.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at

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