Kevon Looney may be looking at a significant raise in free agency, but his first choice is to remain with the Warriors. In an interview on 95.7 The Game after Tuesday’s championship parade, the third-year center outlined his approach to this summer.
“This is my first time experiencing it, so I’m just trying to listen to people around me,” Looney said. “I’ve got some great vets on this team to talk to that have been through this situation that I’m going to lean on and my agents and stuff like that and do what’s best for me. But this has been a great team for me. I have a chance to play on this team and win a championship every year. So that’s something that’s hard to turn down. [It’s] the team that drafted me. So, they’ve all got a special place in my heart. So it’s going to be tough this summer. Whatever happens happens and I’m just going to do what’s best.”
The Warriors could have had Looney under contract for $2.3MM next season, but they decided in October not to pick up his option. A first-round pick in 2015, he was coming off two injury-plagued seasons and a pair of hip surgeries and was at the back of a big-man rotation that included several veterans and newly drafted Jordan Bell.
Looney raised his value by playing 66 games and averaging 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per night during the regular season. He saw more court time than any other Golden State center in the playoffs.
“Our financial commitments [next year and beyond] are high,” GM Bob Myers said recently in explaining the choice to decline Looney’s option.“That factored in. Had we been in a different financial situation in the aggregate, maybe we make a different decision.”
The Warriors face harsh tax penalties for next season and have to be careful about signing anyone for more than a minimum salary. Coach Steve Kerr indicated roster changes are likely that could affect veterans such as Zaza Pachulia and David West.