Kevon Looney

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.

Western Notes: McGee, Towns, Wiseman, Williamson, Trent Jr.

JaVale McGee could wind up with another Western Conference contender next season. The Mavericks are very interested in the veteran free agent center and could offer him the two-year deal he’s seeking, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. McGee, 34, averaged 9.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG for the Suns last season while appearing in 74 regular season contests.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The biggest priority for the Timberwolves this summer is to lock up Karl-Anthony Towns with an extension, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports. Towns is eligible for an extension of up to four years and roughly $211MM. “I can’t wait to sit down with him and his representation ASAP and keep this thing going,” new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “He’s special and deserves everything that is going to come his way.”
  • James Wiseman would actually benefit if the Warriors are able to re-sign free agent Kevon Looney, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Their skill sets would mesh as the team’s center duo and it would ease the pressure on Wiseman, allowing him to focus on his development.
  • The Pelicans’ extension talks with Zion Williamson could take some time to sort out, as Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune explains. The two sides need to figure out is how much of the extension will be fully guaranteed. Clark’s sources believe there is a possibility that negotiations could drag on longer than anticipated due of this issue. Williamson sat out last season due to a foot injury.
  • The Jazz have expressed interest in Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr., according to Ian Begley of SNY TV. Trent’s cap hit for next season is $17.5MM and he has an $18.5+MM option for 2023/24. He averaged 18.3 PPG in 35 MPG last season.

Western Free Agent Rumors: Monk, Warriors, Walker, Dragic, House

The Lakers are hoping to re-sign Malik Monk with their taxpayer mid-level exception, but that may not be enough to keep the 24-year-old guard, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Monk indicated this week that he might accept less money to stay in L.A., but sources tell Fischer that he plans to explore his value on the open market. The Lakers are limited to an offer of around $6.4MM under the MLE.

Monk developed into a valuable scoring threat in his first year with the team, averaging 13.8 points in 76 games while shooting 47.3% from the field and 39.1% on three-pointers.

There’s more free agent news from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors are likely to keep center Kevon Looney, Fischer states in the same piece, with other teams expecting him to get a multi-year contract that averages about $10MM per season. Golden State would like to re-sign Gary Payton II, but he could be tempted to leave for a full mid-level offer. Otto Porter may not return, as sources tell Fischer that he might get several offers at the taxpayer MLE.
  • The Spurs aren’t expected to keep Lonnie Walker, Fischer adds. San Antonio must decide by today whether to extend a $6.3MM qualifying offer to the 23-year-old guard.
  • Jalen Brunson‘s expected exit from Dallas increases the likelihood that veteran guard Goran Dragic will emerge as a target for the Mavericks, Marc Stein writes in his latest column for Substack.
  • The Kings may have interest in signing forward Danuel House, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Clippers, Knicks Have Discussed Possible Nerlens Noel Trade

The Clippers and Knicks have engaged in “exploratory” discussions about a possible trade involving center Nerlens Noel, league sources Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Knicks are attempting to clear the cap room necessary to make a serious run at free agent point guard Jalen Brunson and have a surplus of future draft picks to offer a team willing to take on Noel’s contract, which will pay him $9.24MM in 2022/23. Moving Noel would increase their projected cap room to approximately $25MM.

The Clippers, meanwhile, have a trade exception big enough to take on Noel’s contract without sending out any salary and may view him as a solid rotation option at center, especially if free agent big man Isaiah Hartenstein doesn’t remain in Los Angeles.

The Clippers already project to be a taxpayer and would increase their luxury tax bill exponentially by adding another $9MM+ contract to their books, but Steve Ballmer is one of the richest owners in sports, so that may not be a pressing concern. The opportunity to help an Eastern Conference club pry away a key free agent from a Western rival may also provide some extra incentive as the Clippers mull a potential deal.

Here’s more from Scotto on free agency and the trade market:

  • Four NBA executives who spoke to Scotto believe that Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons could sign a contract in the four-year, $80MM range, perhaps with incentives that could further increase its value.
  • Based on conversations with six league executives, Scotto writes that Warriors center Kevon Looney could command upwards of $9MM per year as a free agent this summer, while guard Gary Payton II could earn $6-7MM annually. Looney is reportedly considered likely to re-sign with Golden State.
  • On draft night, the Pistons landed center Jalen Duren with the No. 13 pick after agreeing to a deal involving New York and Charlotte. If they hadn’t been able to reach an agreement for the No. 13 pick and Duren slipped to No. 14, the Pistons had discussed offering multiple picks, including a future first-rounder, to the Cavaliers, says Scotto. It’s unclear if Cleveland would’ve had any interest in such an offer.

Western Notes: Looney, Payton, Wolves, Mavs’ Targets, Rockets

The Warriors have made re-signed center Kevon Looney their top free agent priority and are expected to meet with his agent, Todd Ramasar, in the early hours of free agency, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Gary Payton II profiles as the Warriors’ second-most important priority but he’ll have other suitors, with the Mavericks expected to be among them, per Slater. Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damion Lee are the players most vulnerable to losing their roster spots, Slater adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves wound up with two first-round draft picks but it won’t alter their plans for free agency, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. GM Tim Connelly said they’ll be looking for players who can make an immediate impact. “I don’t think it has a huge impact,” Connelly said. “Again, the draft is for the next two, three, four, five, six, seven years.”
  • While re-signing Jalen Brunson looms as their top free agent priority, the Mavericks could go shopping for other free agents. Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News looks at some other potential targets, including Gary Harris, Otto Porter Jr. and Goran Dragic.
  • By reaching a buyout agreement with John Wall, the Rockets now have 18 players on the roster, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. They’re $30MM below the luxury tax threshold, with Eric Gordon — a prime trade candidate — as the lone player earning more than $10MM.

Pacific Notes: McNair, Kings’ Offseason Strategy, Looney

With general manager Monte McNair entering the final year of his three-year contract, it’s widely assumed the Kings are in a playoffs-or-bust mode. McNair insists that’s not necessarily the case, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes.

“There’s no mandate,” McNair said. “We’ve been very clear what our goal is. We want to win. We want to make the playoffs and we want to stay there, but there’s no mandate to do so. My job is to build, as I’ve said, the best team that’s going to take the court this year and for years to come.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • In the same story, McNair shrugged off criticism for trading his early second-round pick to Dallas for two future second-rounders. Sacramento has nine guaranteed contracts on its books, with lottery pick Keegan Murray soon to be the 10th. McNair said he wanted to keep his options open regarding the 15-man roster instead of locking into a high second-round pick. “For us, as we go into draft night and into free agency, we’re really managing both our roster and our roster spots,” McNair said. “We’ve got a bunch of guaranteed contracts already. We’re adding one more (Murray) very quickly, and so that’s one thing, opening up another roster spot as we go into free agency, and we have a lot of things on the table.”
  • The Kings passed on Jaden Ivey in the lottery as De’Aaron Fox‘s backcourt partner. So which guards might they pursue in free agency? James Ham of The Kings Beat explores 10 potential options, including Gary Harris, Victor Oladipo and Bruce Brown.
  • Warriors center Kevon Looney is likely to re-sign with the defending champion, according to a reportTodd Ramasar, Looney’s agent, discussed his free agent pitch to other suitors Monday on 95.7 The Game’s “Willard & Dibs” (hat tip to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area). “I talk about how he’s been to five Finals and he’s only 26 years old,” Ramasar said. “He’s won three rings, he’s got a great pedigree. And the fact that he played 104 games this season.”

Stein’s Latest: Looney, Simons, Nurkic, Clippers, Wall, More

Teams interested in pursuing center Kevon Looney this offseason are increasingly pessimistic that they’ll be able to lure him away from the Warriors, league sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link). According to Stein, there’s an expectation that Looney will likely re-sign with Golden State on a multiyear deal when he becomes a free agent this week.

Stein writes that there has been similar pessimism from the teams with interest in making a run at Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons or center Jusuf Nurkic. Simons is a restricted free agent while Nurkic is unrestricted, but the belief among rival teams is that both players will remain in Portland, per Stein.

Here are a few more updates from the veteran NBA reporter:

  • Stein says league sources reiterated to him on Monday that the Clippers will be making a “strong pitch” to John Wall if the veteran point guard reaches a buyout agreement with Houston. There’s a sense that the presence of head coach Tyronn Lue will help increase L.A.’s chances of landing Wall, Stein adds.
  • While they stayed put on draft night, Hawks big man John Collins and Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon remain highly likely to be traded this offseason, sources tell Stein.
  • Following a strong year overseas with AS Monaco, big man Donta Hall is receiving interest from NBA teams, according to Stein. Hall, a former Alabama standout, appeared in a total of 22 games for Detroit, Brooklyn, and Orlando in 2020 and 2021.

Warriors Notes: No. 28 Pick, Looney, Payton, Wiseman, Iguodala, More

Speaking today to reporters, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said that money won’t be the deciding factor as the team weighs whether to use or trade the No. 28 overall pick, as Kendra Andrews of ESPN relays (via Twitter).

“It’ll be if it makes sense,” Myers said of a possible trade.

Besides the financial aspect, the Warriors will have to consider whether there’s a player they like at No. 28 enough to add another rookie to a young core that already includes several recent lottery picks.

According to Sean Deveney of, the Celtics, Knicks, and Magic are among the teams that have expressed interest in the No. 28 pick.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Asked about the Warriors’ key free agents, starting with Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II, Myers said, “Our hope and our goal is to bring all of those guys back” (Twitter link via Mark Medina of However, he added that Golden State will be mindful of the marketplace, suggesting there may be a price point the team won’t exceed. Myers also spoke at length about the ownership’s willingness to pay an ever-growing tax bill as long as the Warriors remain a title contender (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).
  • According to Myers, the Warriors would like to extend Andrew Wiggins‘ and Jordan Poole‘s contracts this offseason, but those talks may not be on the front burner to start the summer, since the deadline for a Poole extension isn’t until October, and Wiggins could be extended during the season (Twitter link via Andrews).
  • The Warriors aren’t giving head coach Steve Kerr a mandate to play youngsters James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody a certain amount next season. “If there are guys playing better, we’ll play those guys,” Myers said (Twitter link via Medina).
  • Wiseman hasn’t experienced any recent setbacks and the plan remains for him to play in either the California Classic or Las Vegas Summer League in July, Myers said today (Twitter link via Medina). That plan was reported earlier this month.
  • Neither Myers nor Kerr is certain whether or not Andre Iguodala will retire this summer, tweets Slater. “It’s a really big decision for him,” Kerr said. “If he decides to come back, we’d be thrilled.”

Warriors Notes: Looney, Wiggins, Porter, Salary

With another NBA title in their possession, the Warriors will now see how much of their team they can keep together, writes Logan Murdock of The Ringer. One of the key pieces in question is center Kevon Looney, who will be an unrestricted free agent on June 30. Looney, who became the Golden State’s full-time starting center this season, said he hopes to re-sign with the team.

“This is definitely my number one option,” he said. “I’ve been here my whole career. … So this will definitely be number one.”

Looney should far exceed the three-year, $14.4MM contract he just completed, and the Hornets and Kings are both expected to pursue him, Marc Stein writes in a story for Substack. New Sacramento head coach Mike Brown worked closely with Looney during his time as a Warriors assistant.

There’s more on the NBA champs:

  • The Warriors also face a decision on Andrew Wiggins, who will be eligible for an extension this summer ahead of unrestricted free agency in 2023, Murdock adds in the same piece. Wiggins has excelled since coming to Golden State in a 2020 trade and was an important part of this year’s playoff run. “I would love to stay here,” Wiggins said during today’s exit interviews. “This is top-notch. The way they treat their players, the way they treat your family. We’re all one big family. A lot of places might say that, but here their actions show it.” (Twitter link from Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area).
  • Free agent forward Otto Porter expressed a similar sentiment in his exit interview, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Porter will be back on the open market after signing a one-year, minimum-salary deal last summer. “I do know this team can compete for another championship,” he said. “And I think it would be a great opportunity if I can stay here. It would be an amazing to be here with this group of guys again and do it all over again.”
  • The Warriors set a league record by spending more than $350MM on combined salary and luxury tax payments this season, and that number could easily top $400MM in the next two years, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link). He points out that payroll would reach $390MM if Looney and Gary Payton II are brought back at $6MM per year and would balloon to $430MM if the Warriors also use their mid-level exception.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Wiggins, Thompson

Friday night may have been the best performance of Stephen Curry‘s Hall of Fame career, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. With the Warriors in danger of falling behind 3-1, Curry delivered 43 points with seven three-pointers, 10 rebounds and four assists to pull out a victory in a hostile atmosphere.

It was a defining game for Curry, who has yet to win Finals MVP honors despite having three rings. More remarkably, it came two days after a foot injury that led to questions about how effective he could be for the rest of the series.

“Incredible,” Draymond Green said. “Put us on his back. Willed us to win. Much-needed win. Game we had to have. Came out and showed why he’s one of the best players to ever play this game, you know? And why … this organization has been able to ride him to so much success. It’s absolutely incredible.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kevon Looney was replaced by Otto Porter Jr. in the starting lineup for Game 4 as coach Steve Kerr focused on spacing, but Looney was able to exploit his size advantage when he checked in, observes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. After playing just 17 minutes in Game 3, the big man logged 28 minutes Friday night with six points and 11 rebounds. “Loon is just crucial to everything we do,” Kerr said. “He’s our best screener, our best rebounder. One of our smartest players. He’s always in the right spot. He made I thought the biggest bucket in the game after Horford made the 3 from the corner (late in the fourth quarter), Draymond made the pass out of the pocket to Loon, and he finished with that left hand (to put the Warriors back up five).”
  • Andrew Wiggins has transformed himself into an effective rebounder throughout this year’s playoffs and collected a career-high 16 in Game 4, Slater adds in the same piece. Wiggins has been criticized for his lack of rebounding during his eight NBA seasons, but he’s averaging 7.3 per game in this postseason as a small-ball power forward. “I want to win,” he explained. “I know rebounding is a big part of that. I just want to win.”
  • In an attempt to revive himself for the rest of the series, Klay Thompson went swimming Saturday in San Francisco Bay, per Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. Thompson spent a lot of time on the water, especially in his boat, during his 31-month rehab after two serious leg injuries.