Kevon Looney

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Curry, Holmes, C. Johnson

The Warriors tried out a new starting and closing lineup on Thursday in a Finals rematch again Boston, subbing in Jordan Poole for Kevon Looney. The five-man unit of Poole, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins was less stout defensively, but was more dynamic on offense — it’s a look head coach Steve Kerr suggested he plans to stick with for now, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Just wanted to open up the floor,” Kerr said. “Give us a little different look. Maybe get a spark. We’re past the halfway point and we’re .500. Like, let’s try something different. … It’s a lineup we know can be explosive. Against Boston, in particular, you have to open up the floor. I think I’ll keep doing it.”

Following Thursday’s loss, the defending champions are now 22-23, a game below .500. It makes sense that Kerr would be looking to generate a spark with a lineup shake-up, and his players are on board with giving the new starting group a shot.

“There’s strength and weaknesses to it,” Curry said after Thursday’s game. “But we got great shots with it tonight. Came out with a lot of juice. We gotta be better at rebounding. If we give up size, we gotta be more physical, prepared to rebound. But it gives us great space and gets us great shots, and you gotta like the way we can play fast and put pressure on defenses.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In a Substack conversation with Marc Stein, Curry expressed interest in joining Kerr and Team USA in Paris for the 2024 Olympics and discussed how much longer he might want to play in the NBA. As the Warriors star explained, his hope when he entered the league was to match the 16 seasons his father Dell Curry played, but once he gets beyond that figure, he has no specific target in mind. “I don’t have any (longevity) goals other than maintaining the feeling that I have right now in my body and the night-in, night-out expectation of how I play and having that energy and joy and being able to recover from game to game,” Stephen Curry said.
  • With Domantas Sabonis out on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness, Kings center Richaun Holmes got his first start since last February and played a season-high 31 minutes, registering 16 points (on 7-of-7 shooting) and 11 rebounds. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee outlines, it was a major achievement for a player who has gone through both professional and personal hardships in the last year. “It’s a testament to his character, his professionalism and his ability to play the game at a high level,” head coach Mike Brown said of Holmes. Sabonis is listed as questionable to play on Friday vs. Oklahoma City.
  • Cameron Johnson‘s return to action on Thursday – which saw him score 19 points in 22 minutes – provided a huge lift for a Suns team that has been mired in a lengthy slump, perhaps giving them a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, writes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. Head coach Monty Williams said Johnson “brought a level of juice to the arena that we haven’t felt in a while,” while Deandre Ayton said his teammate “definitely gave us a breath of fresh air.”

21 More NBA Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Sunday, January 15, which means that nearly two dozen players who signed free agent contracts meeting specific criteria this past offseason are now eligible to be traded.

Most offseason signees became trade-eligible on December 15, but players who met the following criteria were ineligible to be moved for an extra month:

  1. The player re-signed with his previous team.
  2. He got a raise of at least 20%.
  3. His salary is worth more than the minimum.
  4. His team was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights to sign him.

The following players met that criteria and are eligible to be traded as of Sunday:

(* Players marked with an asterisk have the ability to veto trades.)

Most of the players on NBA rosters are now eligible to be moved, though a small handful still can’t be dealt. That group includes Thunder guard Isaiah Joe, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton (trade-eligible on Wednesday), and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (trade-eligible on Friday).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible before this season’s February 9 deadline, including Lakers star LeBron James. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Morris Sr., Green, Looney, Curry

The Clippers headed into Tuesday’s game against Dallas on a six-game losing streak. However, coach Tyronn Lue drew some positives from the way the team competed in a four-point loss to Atlanta on Sunday, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register writes. “We had a conscious effort of playing the right way and so I could live with the results,” Lue said. “We have to keep working. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. But I’m encouraged.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris has been fined $15K for directing inappropriate language toward a game official, the league’s PR department tweets. The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Clippers’ 128-115 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday.
  • The Warriors are active in the trade market, looking to add size and shooting, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. However, coach Steve Kerr’s main concern right now is giving players who have logged heavy minutes recently, such as Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, some down time. “I’m really proud of them, of that whole group, but of Loon and Draymond in particular, given the circumstances,” Kerr said. “What they’ve done for us the last couple weeks, keeping us afloat, has been really impressive. But, yes, it would be nice to give them a little rest.”
  • Stephen Curry returned to action on Tuesday from a shoulder injury and the Warriors desperately need his offense after losses to Detroit and Orlando, Poole writes in a separate story. “We’re having a lot of possessions where we’re going stagnant,” Kerr said. “We’re not getting a ‘dive man.’ Or we’re ‘five out’ on the perimeter. And just pass, pass, pass, without anybody setting a screen and diving to the rim and pulling the defense in.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Iguodala, Buyout Market

Stephen Curry‘s return could be imminent. Curry participated in Monday’s practice and scrimmages, according to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews, and he’s listed as questionable to play against Phoenix on Tuesday. Curry hasn’t played since Dec. 14 due to a shoulder injury.

Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were also full participants while Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green sat out.

Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, Donte DiVincenzo and Jordan Poole did not participate in the scrimmages because they’ve played heavy minutes in recent games (Twitter links here).

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Wiggins missed 15 games due to an adductor strain and illness. In his return against Orlando on Saturday, he scored 12 points in 19 minutes but shot just 4-for-12 from the field. He told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater that he’ll need some time to regain his best form. “It just felt a little rusty out there just trying to get my feet right, get back in rhythm,” Wiggins said. “But I know it’s going to take a little time.”
  • Andre Iguodala made his season debut in the same game and also needs to scrape off some rust. He wasn’t much of a factor in 12 minutes. However, Iguodala isn’t a crucial rotation piece like Wiggins, Slater notes in the same piece.
  • The trade deadline is a month away, followed by the buyout market. The Warriors, who have an open roster spot, need to add another piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic opines. What do they need the most? In Thompson’s estimation, an athletic big would be ideal. They could also pursue a wing capable of stressing defenses off the dribble.

Warriors Notes: Looney, Wiseman, J. Green, Poole, Thompson

While Jordan Poole is the most obvious recent example of a Warriors player who benefited from a stint in the G League before breaking out at the NBA level, Anthony Slater of The Athletic believes Kevon Looney may be a better point of comparison for James Wiseman, who is headed to the Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday.

As Slater writes, Looney spent time in the G League in each of his first three NBA seasons, including a stint in his second year after he had been pulled from the team’s rotation. Looney has since evolved into one of Golden State’s most dependable and trusted veterans, but admits he wasn’t thrilled by the assignment at the time, and he knows it may not be easy for Wiseman to take his own G League assignment in stride.

“It’s really difficult,” Looney said. “Especially when you’re a high pick. You got all these expectations. You’re coming off injury. You want to prove yourself to all the doubters. You see all your peers doing well, everyone talking about how good they are and you feel like you’re just as good and things aren’t coming as fast. It makes it frustrating.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • According to Slater, JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Anthony Lamb are likely to remain in Golden State’s rotation with Wiseman in Santa Cruz. Head coach Steve Kerr said after Monday’s win that he hasn’t done Green “any favors” by how he has used him so far (video link via Slater). Kerr now believes Green is best suited to be a backup center, rather than a power forward, and believes Green’s ability to space the floor will help create room for Poole to operate.
  • After pouring in 36 points on Monday, Poole is now averaging 28.7 PPG on .475/.394/.944 shooting in three starts this season, compared to 13.9 PPG (.421/.323/.765 shooting) in 11 games off the bench. Kerr said on Monday that things come easier for Poole when an opponent’s top defender is focused on Stephen Curry and he can utilize screens set by Looney and Draymond Green (Twitter link via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). However, as he said last week, Kerr stressed that he’s not considering moving Poole into the starting five on a full-time basis.
  • In a conversation with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Klay Thompson expressed some frustration that helping lead the Warriors to four titles and returning from two major leg injuries hasn’t earned him more leeway from critics as he works through an extended slump. The veteran sharpshooter remains confident that he both he and the Warriors will find their stride sooner or later. “I’m happy to go through this now compared to a few months from now,” Thompson said. “No need to panic. We’re like 14 games in. It’s a long season. We face a challenge of going back-to-back, which is incredibly difficult. And then trying to integrate the new guys. It’s going to take time but we’ll figure it out.”

Warriors Notes: Rotation, Thompson, Looney, Wiseman

The Warriors haven’t looked like defending champions in their three road games this season, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State dropped to 3-4 after losing a pair of games this weekend to the Hornets, who were playing without their starting backcourt, and the Pistons, who were 1-5 before Sunday night.

Coach Steve Kerr is searching for answers as he tries to develop an effective bench. James Wiseman committed three fouls in four minutes at Charlotte and wasn’t used in the second half, but he looked better in Detroit. Two-way players Ty Jerome and Anthony Lamb both saw action Sunday, and Jonathan Kuminga logged a season-high 19 minutes.

While Kerr sorts through his reserves, Draymond Green said it’s up to the core of last season’s title winners to make sure the team stays successful.

“It’s not their fault,” Green said of the younger players. “It’s not solely their fault that we’re not playing well defensively or offensively. When you are playing younger guys, it makes it tougher to execute on both ends of the floor. But by no means is it the young guys’ fault. They have a part in it just like we all have a part in it.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Klay Thompson sat out Sunday’s game after playing 32 minutes Saturday night. Kerr doesn’t plan to keep him out of back-to-backs entirely like he did after Thompson returned from his injuries last season, but it will continue until the veteran sharpshooter regains full conditioning, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN.
  • One positive sign is the recent rebounding surge from Kevon Looney, notes Monte Poole of NBC Sports. Looney had nine rebounds in 22 minutes against Detroit’s big frontline after pulling down eight against Miami on Thursday and nine in Charlotte.
  • In an interview with Katie Heindl of Uproxx Sports, Wiseman said he’s starting to feel like himself again after the long recovery process from a meniscus tear in his right knee. “When I first got injured, I was crying so hard I couldn’t even get to my mom’s apartment,” Wiseman recalled from when he hurt his knee in April of 2021. “My mom had to carry me to her apartment. I was just crushed. Having a lot of nights where I was crying a lot, like a lot of times where I had thoughts like … I wish this happened differently.”

Warriors Notes: Looney, Myers, Starters, Green

Warriors starting center Kevon Looney, who signed a three-year contract worth up to $25.5MM to remain in Golden State this summer, hopes to remain with the only NBA team he has ever known for the duration of his career, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“This is the team I got drafted to,” Looney said on NBC Sports Bay Area’s podcast Dubs Talk last month. “I love living out here. I know the system, I know the players, I know the guys. It’s home for me. This is where I wanted to be. “I’ve had a lot of great vets over the years, and they always told me to stay here as long as possible. The culture like this, it isn’t like that everywhere else. All of that was in the back of my head going into free agency.”

Poole notes that Looney was finally promoted to a starting role with the Warriors during the team’s 2021/22 championship season after spending his first six years in the league as a backup big man. Looney enjoyed one of his best regular seasons last year, appearing in all 82 games for the first time in his career, while averaging 6.0 PPG on 57.1% shooting from the floor, along with 7.3 RPG, and 2.0 APG across 21.1 MPG.

There’s more out of Golden State:

  • Warriors team president Bob Myers is fully aware that the cost of the team’s roster next season projects to be at least $483MM in player salaries and luxury tax payments, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “I cannot evaluate what we are going to do next season until we see what happens this season,” Myers said with regard to his team’s future roster-building in a Sunday press conference. “I just know this: There’s a huge commitment to winning. There always has been, and I believe there always will be. I am lucky to be in an [ownership] group that believes that. Their actions prove it.”
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr suggested on Monday that he will have something of a minutes cap for starters Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney on opening night. As Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area relays (via Twitter), Kerr thinks those players are not quite yet ready to play 30-plus minutes to begin the 2022/23 season. “It’s fine,” Kerr said, adding that the team will rely on its depth this week. “You just adapt and adjust.”
  • Warriors power forward Draymond Green, who has not been signed to an extension despite the team dishing out lucrative long-term deals for his teammates Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, is a good bet to pick up his $27.6MM player option for the 2023/24 season, posits Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter video link). Wojnarowski initially said Green will “almost assuredly” exercise that option before clarifying that it’s “probably the most likely scenario” based on his projected market.

Warriors Rumors: Poole, Green, Klay, Wiggins, Moody, More

If the Warriors want to sign Jordan Poole to a rookie scale extension before the October 17 deadline, it will likely require a baseline offer of $120MM over four years, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who said during an appearance on the HoopsHype podcast that Tyler Herro‘s deal with Miami raised the bar for Golden State and Poole.

Slater, who believes the two sides will get something done in the coming days, suggests that the incident with Draymond Green last week might’ve create some additional urgency on the Warriors’ side, since they won’t want Poole’s contract situation hanging over his head all year after what happened with Green.

Slater also observes that there are some teams who project to have cap room next year that could realistically offer Poole a maximum-salary offer sheet. In Slater’s view, the Magic and Spurs are among the rebuilding teams who could use a backcourt scorer like Poole and would have the financial flexibility to make life difficult for the Warriors if the 23-year-old makes it to restricted free agency.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • The Warriors appear to be in “wait-and-see” mode on potential extensions for Green and Klay Thompson, says Slater. There’s no real urgency on the Thompson front because he’s under contract for two more guaranteed seasons. Green can become a free agent next summer, but the Warriors will likely want to see how this season plays out to get a sense of how he regains the team’s trust, what his market will be like, and whether he’ll be able to top his $27.6MM player option.
  • Andrew Wiggins is also extension-eligible, and Slater believes the Warriors would be interested in exploring a new deal if the former No. 1 pick is willing to take a slight pay cut (perhaps from his current $33.6MM into the 20s). But it’s unclear whether Wiggins would consider that as he comes off his best NBA season.
  • Slater believes Moses Moody is a better bet than Jonathan Kuminga or Patrick Baldwin Jr. to step into a rotation role immediately this season, since he’s a good fit for a three-and-D spot. While the Warriors like Baldwin’s long-term potential, Slater expects him to spend a lot of time in the G League as a rookie.
  • The Warriors allowed their veterans to take on a major role in the handling of the Green/Poole altercation last week, according to Slater, who points to Stephen Curry, Kevon Looney, and Andre Iguodala as players who were very involved. “The players are of the belief that it’s better for the team to bring Draymond back in now,” Slater said.

Warriors Notes: Green, Poole, Looney, Iguodala, Wiseman

It feels like “the clock is ticking down” on the relationship between the Warriors and Draymond Green, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who likens the situation to the start of the “accommodation stage in a turbulent but prosperous marriage,” with the strains becoming increasingly visible.

In Kawakami’s view, it seems safe to assume that Green’s future with the Warriors beyond the 2022/23 season is very much up in the air, since team executives already weren’t 100% sure about a lucrative new commitment to Green even before he punched teammate Jordan Poole in a practice last week.

Both sides need one another for now, since the Warriors probably can’t realistically win another title this season without Green, but the latest misstep by the former Defensive Player of the Year is a sign that a divorce is probably coming at some point, Kawakami writes.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors may have been more inclined to suspend Draymond Green for his actions if they weren’t receiving their championship rings on opening night of the regular season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated during a TV appearance (video link via ClutchPoints). “If this incident had landed in the middle of the regular season, there’d probably be a suspension. If the Warriors weren’t defending champions and were just playing an ordinary opening night, there might very well be a suspension,” Wojnarowski said. “Golden State did not want to punish Draymond Green in a way where he’d miss opening night where he’d get his fourth ring with the Warriors.”
  • Jordan Poole is the only reason the Warriors’ championship defense isn’t “in tatters,” according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who lauds the fourth-year guard for the role he has played in the team’s efforts to mend fences.
  • Head coach Steve Kerr praised Kevon Looney, whom he called the team’s “moral compass” – for the role he played in helping the Warriors navigate the Green incident. “He’s a special human being. Special,” Kerr said, per Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “And he was a key instrument in everything that we’ve had going the last week to try to get things back on track.”
  • Andre Iguodala still hadn’t scrimmaged as of Tuesday night and won’t be active when the Warriors begin their season next week vs. the Lakers, according to Kerr (Twitter link via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area).
  • It has been 18 months since James Wiseman, who suffered a meniscus tear in April 2021, last played in a regular season NBA game. Kendra Andrews of ESPN takes a look at how Wiseman pushed through that long, challenging rehab process – which included multiple setbacks – to get back on the court this fall.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Looney, Green, Iguodala, DiVincenzo

The Warriors‘ first practice of the season was a valuable learning experience for James Wiseman, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman closed today’s session by working one-on-one with starting center Kevon Looney while big man coach Dejan Milojević looked on. Wiseman could only watch last season while recovering from a knee injury, so just being on the court is an important step forward.

“Watching Loon the last couple years has helped James,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “But now playing against him, he’ll be able to see and feel those tricks of the trade Loon is so good with — flipping the screen, catching the ball in the pocket, (dribble handoffs), all those things.”

Wiseman enters his third NBA season as the primary backup for Looney and may even start a few games when Looney rests. Looney played every regular season and playoff game last year, and the team doesn’t want to put that kind of strain on him again.

“I definitely want to play 82 again,” Looney said. “But I’m not going to compromise myself to do it. If I feel like I don’t look good or the training staff thinks I’m not moving as well or something is nagging me, I’ll take the break. But if I’m healthy, I’m going to play. I’m not going to sit because it’s a back-to-back just cause. I’m 26. I feel good. I missed a lot of years, so I have some games to make up.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kerr was encouraged by Draymond Green‘s performance in today’s practice session, Slater states in the same piece. Green came to training camp straight from the Olympics last year, but there were concerns he wouldn’t be as sharp without an offseason competition to push him. “His conditioning looked good, his body looked good,” Kerr said. “He was really moving well both laterally and sprint speed up and down the floor. He was mentoring the young guys, coaching them up in drill work. Then on the floor, the blue team — with Looney, (Stephen Curry), (Andrew Wiggins) — that group just demolished everybody.”
  • The only player not at today’s practice was Andre Iguodala, who announced Friday that he will play one more year, Slater adds. Iguodala will report to practice Monday and will accompany the team on its trip to Japan. “He was planning on retirement,” Kerr explained. “This was sort of a last-minute decision for him. We gave him the freedom to do the things he already had scheduled. … His presence is going to mean the world to us. We have so many young guys. The more mentoring and coaching from within, the better.”
  • The Warriors’ history of success played a big role in attracting free agent Donte DiVincenzo, tweets NBA journalist Mark Haynes. “I wanted to get back to that winning culture,” DiVincenzo said. “The joy of playing simple winning basketball. I think I thrive in that.”