Kevon Looney

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.”

And-Ones: Brazdeikis, Hall, Harden, Johnson, Lofton Jr.

After finishing the 2021/22 season in Orlando, Ignas Brazdeikis remains on the free agent market and he’s drawing interest from two EuroLeague teams, according to Donatas Urbonas of

Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zalgiris Kaunas are the teams pursuing Brazdeikis, though he’d prefer to stay in the NBA. Both Zalgiris and Baskonia are desperately looking for a perimeter player, according to Urbonas. Baskonia is trying to replace Simone Fontecchio, who is signing a two-year deal with the Jazz. Brazdeikis appeared in 42 games with the Magic last season.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Former NBA forward Donta Hall has signed a three-year extension with AS Monaco, the team announced in a press release. Hall’s last NBA action came during the 2020/21 campaign, when he played 13 games with Orlando.
  • James Harden is a bargain? If he takes a pay cut and signs a two-year contract worth approximately $68MM with the Sixers, he’d rank as the best free agent value this offseason, Keith Smith writes in a Spotrac article. Keldon Johnson‘s four-year, $80MM extension with the Spurs and Kevon Looney‘s three-year, $25.5MM deal with the Warriors are also among the summer’s most team-friendly deals, in Smith’s estimation.
  • There were some eye-popping performances and some clunkers in the final Summer League games played over the weekend. Ethan Fuller of Basketball News takes a look at the “Studs,” including Kenneth Lofton Jr.’s 27-point, 12-rebound performance for the Grizzlies, and “Duds” from those contests.

Warriors Notes: Kuminga, Wiseman, Wiggins, Mahlalela, Looney

There’s been speculation that the Warriors might consider moving some of their young talent to acquire another star, but Jonathan Kuminga hopes to play alongside fellow lottery pick James Wiseman for many years to come, writes Jarod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. Kuminga discussed the possibility in a TV interview during Friday’s Summer League game (video link).

“Hopefully we play like that together for like the next 10 years, 15 years,” Kuminga said. “Just building our chemistry at a young age, it means a lot.”

Summer League is the only time that Kuminga, 19, and Wiseman, 21, have played together because Wiseman missed all of last season following knee surgery. They have been effective, combining for 30 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in Friday’s game, and they’ll likely both have larger roles next season because Golden State has lost five players in free agency.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • A Western Conference executive tells Sean Deveney of that Andrew Wiggins might become too expensive for Golden State to keep in the long run. The unidentified executive expects the Warriors to engage in extension talks with Wiggins and then eventually explore their trade options after he has a new deal in place.
  • Assistant coach Jama Mahlalela, who was promoted to replace Mike Brown on the front of the Warriors’ bench, had a huge impact in his first year with the club, notes Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News. Mahlalela came to Golden State from Toronto and was given credit for helping Wiggins and Gary Payton II become important parts of the title-winning team. “He’s very forward-thinking,” owner Joe Lacob said. “He’s not reactive, he’s proactive about things. I don’t want to say we’ve never had somebody like that, but he’s a different breed from any coach we’ve had.”
  • Kevon Looney‘s new contract will become fully guaranteed for the 2024/25 season if the Warriors capture another championship in 2023 or 2024, tweets Ian Begley of After a strong playoff run, Looney signed a three-year deal to stay with Golden State, but the final season only carries a $3MM guarantee on his $8MM salary.

Kevon Looney Signs Three-Year Contract With Warriors

JULY 10: Looney’s return to Golden State is official, the Warriors have announced in a press statement.

JULY 1: The Warriors are bringing back a key member of their championship roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that that the team has agreed to a three-year, $25.5MM deal with center Kevon Looney.

Looney enjoyed an impressive bounce-back year in 2021/22 after his previous two seasons were marred by injuries and a reduced role. He started 80 of Golden State’s 82 regular season games and averaged 6.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.0 APG in 21.1 minutes per contest while playing solid defense. His role remained steady in the postseason — he started just 13 of 22 games, but logged 20.4 MPG during the Warriors’ title run.

The 26-year-old put a stamp on a sterling contract year with his play in the NBA Finals — in six games, the Warriors outscored the Celtics by 48 points when he was on the court and were outscored by 24 points when he sat.

According to Marc Stein (Twitter link), some rival teams believed Looney might return to Golden State on a three- or four-year deal worth $10MM per year, so bringing him back at $8.5MM annually looks like a good deal for the defending champions. Additionally, the third year is only partially guaranteed for $3MM, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

The Warriors still have some work to do on their roster after striking a deal with Looney. The team has lost a pair of key rotation players so far in free agency, with Otto Porter headed to Toronto and Gary Payton II on his way to Portland.

Golden State’s projected tax bill figures to be a consideration as the team weighs its options with the taxpayer mid-level exception. According to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link), the Warriors have a projected tax bill of at least $120MM so far, and that number would rise significantly if the team uses its MLE.

Trail Blazers Eyeing Gary Payton II, Bruce Brown

The Trail Blazers are pursuing free agent guard Gary Payton II with an offer in the range of $8MM, but there’s still mutual interested in a return to the Warriors, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer adds that the Blazers are also eyeing Bruce Brown, another free agent guard, who has been with the Nets the last couple of seasons.

After bouncing between the G League and the NBA in his first five seasons and never finding a consistent home or role, Payton had a terrific season for the Warriors in 2021/22, appearing in 71 regular season games (16 starts) while averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals on .616/.358/.603 shooting. Though he averaged only 17.6 minutes per night, his impact was clear when he had opportunities, showcasing jaw-dropping athleticism, a knack for the ball, hustle, and excellent defense.

The 29-year-old played a key role during Golden State’s championship run, averaging 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals in five Finals contests (18.5 minutes per night) after returning from a fractured left elbow. In his first six playoff games (18 minutes) prior to the injury, he averaged 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1 steal on .727/.750/.667 shooting.

Like Payton, Brown is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, and the Nets trading for Royce O’Neale was viewed as an indication that Brown was unlikely to return to Brooklyn. In 71 regular season games (24.6 minutes) last season, Brown averaged 9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals on .506/.404/.758 shooting.

Despite being swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, Brown was arguably Brooklyn’s most consistent postseason performer, averaging 14 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals on .568/.429/.800 shooting.

Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic report that both Kevon Looney and Payton are searching for more money than the Warriors are willing to offer, thus increasing the chances that Payton, in particular, bolts in free agency. Both players want to return to Golden State, but at the right price, which is where the separation currently exists, according to The Athletic’s duo.

The chance of a reunion between Otto Porter and the Warriors is still possible, per Slater and Amick, who say that Porter is contemplating whether to return on a minimum deal or take a larger offer elsewhere.