The decision doesn’t come as a surprise, since Looney isn’t part of the rotation and the Warriors need to watch their spending. As Bobby Marks of ESPN points out, Golden State already has $127MM in contract guarantees for next season. By allowing Looney to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, the Warriors will clear $2.3MM off their books.
By declining the option, the Warriors can only offer him a first-year salary of $2.3MM or less in free agency. Golden State had to decide by the end of this month whether to pick up his option.
Looney, 21, has only appeared in two games this season. The 6’9” Looney has averaged 2.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 8.1 MPG over 60 career games, including 53 last season.
Looney was the team’s first-round pick and the 30th overall player chosen in the 2015 draft. Looney, who is making approximately $1.23MM this season, had two hip procedures during his rookie year and only appeared in five games.