Kevon Looney

Andre Iguodala Listed As Doubtful For Game 4

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Warriors Notes: Looney, Curry, Durant, Coaches

The better Kevon Looney plays, the less likely it is the Warriors will be able to afford him when he becomes a free agent this summer, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State declined Looney’s option after two injury-plagued years related to a pair of hip surgeries. He responded by playing 66 games during the regular season and leading all Warriors centers with 147 playoff minutes.

Golden State could have locked up Looney for $2.3MM for 2018/19, but that wasn’t an easy decision when it had to be made in October. Not only was his career beset by injuries, but he was buried in a deep big man rotation that included promising rookie Jordan Bell.

“Our financial commitments [next year and beyond] are high,” GM Bob Myers said. “That factored in. Had we been in a different financial situation in the aggregate, maybe we make a different decision.”

There’s more today from Golden State:

  • Stephen Curry‘s time as a reserve will last just one game, according to an ESPN report. Returning from an MCL sprain, Curry scored 28 points off the bench Tuesday, and he will be in the starting lineup when the series resumes Friday. “Oh yeah, yeah, he’ll start Game 3,” coach Steve Kerr said in an interview on 95.7 The Game. “You don’t keep a guy like that on the bench for long. … He’ll be in the starting lineup.”
  • Kevin Durant is hoping for easier looks from 3-point range with Curry back on the court, relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Durant averaged 27.9 points in six playoff games without Curry, but shot just 28% from long distance. “When you get a chance to work with one of the best to ever play, it sharpens you as well,” Durant said. “Steel sharpens steel. He makes me better and I make him better.”
  • Kerr won’t stand in the way if any of his assistants has a shot at a head coaching job, relays Medina adds in a separate story. Jarron Collins is a candidate in Atlanta, while Mike Brown is among the many who have interviewed with the Knicks. “Selfishly I hope guys stay but we always want them to move on with their careers and get these great opportunities,” Kerr said in the same radio interview. “So we’ll see what happens.” Alvin Gentry of the Pelicans and Luke Walton of the Lakers were both Golden State assistants before landing their current jobs.

Pacific Notes: Jordan, Clark, Looney, Curry

If he decides to turn down his player option for 2018/19, DeAndre Jordan will enter this summer as one of the league’s most intriguing free agents and will likely have no shortage of suitors. No teams can offer Jordan as much money as his current team, the Clippers, but his steady defense and elite rebounding should interest several clubs.

Frank Urbina of HoopsHype examines Jordan’s potential trip through the open market and identifies four possible destinations. Even without Chris Paul, who was traded to the Rockets last offseason, Jordan enjoyed a solid season, averaging 12.0 PPG, 15.2 RPG, and 64.5% field goal percentage to go with a career-best 1.5 APG.

Among the possible teams, Urbina lists the Clippers, their hometown rival Lakers, plus the Knicks and Kings. The Lakers enter the offseason with major cap space that can be used on multiple free agents; the Knicks may have a season-long void in the frontcourt if Enes Kanter opts out and Kristaps Porzingis ACL injury recovery lingers; and the Kings are rebuilding with money to spend.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Kevon Looney has been a solid player for the Warriors, but this past October, the team elected not to pick up his player option, so he could leave as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Warriors general manager Bob Myers admitted to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic (subscription required) that in hindsight, the team should have gone a different direction. “We didn’t know. We had to go on the information we had, which is not the information we have now,” Myers said. “Maybe in that circumstance, the cap factored in as far as having to be very conscious of every dollar and saying ‘Can we replace this player? Can we afford to pay him at this number?’ When we make any decision, we’re projecting. Sometimes we project correctly. Sometimes we project incorrectly.”
  • With the Warriors set for a second-round series against the Pelicans, Ian Clark – who spent two seasons in Golden State – plans to use that experience to help his current team, William Guillory of writes. “It’s going to be fun,” Clark said. “Being in this position to compete against them is going to be fun. Obviously I know a lot of those guys’ tendencies, and I’m trying to help as much as possible to get the win.”
  • We noted earlier today that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr listed Stephen Curry as questionable for Game 1 between the Pelicans and Warriors this Saturday. Curry has been out since late March with an MCL sprain.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Ball, Giles, Looney

Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas was facing a tough free agent market even before Wednesday’s announcement that he will have season-ending surgery on his right hip, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports.

Only a few teams have the cap room available to give Thomas the kind of contract he was expecting, and most of them aren’t good fits. The Sixers already have Markelle Fultz, the Mavericks are set with rookie Dennis Smith Jr. and the rebuilding Bulls and Hawks aren’t likely to invest heavily in a 29-year-old guard with serious injury concerns.

“No one is going long there [with a deal], in all likelihood,” former Cavaliers GM David Griffin said. “[The hip] is a very significant factor. His whole game is predicated upon quickness and creating shot separation. If he can’t do that, he is a small non-defender.”

The Lakers have expressed interest in re-signing Thomas, but that’s only if they strike out on their primary targets in free agency.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Lonzo Ball will have an MRI on his left knee today, but the Lakers rookie isn’t overly concerned about the results, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Ball had to leave last night’s game after being kneed in the back of the leg in the third quarter. “It wasn’t in the spot that I previously hurt that caused me to miss a lot of games, so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Ball said. “It’s just kind of like a bruise. It just hurts, but I should be back soon.”
  • The Kings believe injured rookie Harry Giles has a bright future, but that won’t stop them from drafting a big man if they get an early lottery pick, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Giles, who has sat out the entire season after undergoing three knee operations in four years, tells Alex Kramers of he knows he will eventually get a chance to prove himself. “I know that my time is coming,” he said. “It’s not like I’m [thinking], ‘I might not play. I might not do this or do that.’ I know it’s about just me working and getting better. I have to look at it like it’s only getting me ready for when my time really comes.”
  • Kevon Looney is making the most of his playing time with the injury-ravaged Warriors, writes Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area. The third-year power forward/center has finally gotten past the hip problems that required surgery early in his career. “He’s always had that game,” said teammate Andre Iguodala. “But the NBA is all about that confidence and opportunity. He’s feeling better, too. But even when he was hurting with his hips, I could always see his game.”

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors may be on the precipice of breaking new luxury tax records but that seems like a suitable trade off for their run as one of the most dominant franchises in NBA history.

Sure, they’ll inevitably need to finesse things with their four core superstars but that doesn’t mean the club can’t still make a handful of responsible moves in the summer of 2018 to make their lives slightly simpler when push comes to shove.

The Warriors issued a pile of short-term deals last summer and may be in position to do so again. At the end of the day, retaining flexibility and not overpaying for players that aren’t business critical will be their top priorities.

Omri Casspi, SF, 30 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
Casspi has bounced around the NBA over the course of the past nine seasons, occasionally showing glimpses of solid value as a rotation player but his role with the Warriors may be his most relevant yet. While Casspi’s 16.1 minutes per game are the second least of his career (he played sparingly for the Cavs in 2012/13), he’s shown that he’s a competent bit character in Golden State’s title defense and the organization should look to retain that. Casspi can plug into the Warriors rotation when needed, as evidenced by the 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game he averaged in 14 December games, but his modest resume doesn’t demand consistent time or big-time money. It seems like both parties would benefit from his return on another cheap deal but don’t rule out other contending hopefuls trying to poach him away.

Kevin Durant, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $53MM deal in 2017
After taking a discount so that the Warriors could retain players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Durant will have the chance to turn down his player option and go after a bigger contract now that the team’s other core pieces are in place. Durant is on a short list of players with enough clout to bounce from short-term deal to short-term deal, retaining future flexibility and keeping general managers on their toes but he could also ink a four-year max pact and go about his business. While Durant strikes me as the type of personality that may prefer the latter, he could potentially opt for the former if for no other reason than to give the organization options as they gear up for their forthcoming years-long battle with the repeater tax.

Kevon Looney, C, 22 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2015
The Warriors made the decision to turn down the fourth-year of Looney’s rookie contract because at that point he hadn’t been able to show much value over the course of two injury plagued seasons. Looney has had a bit more of a chance to showcase his skills in 2017/18 but not enough to warrant major free agency interest. The Dubs may be able to bring Looney back on a minimum deal next season if they like the intangibles that he brings outside of game days but there’s no obvious case for it aside from the fact that they’ll need bodies and they know what he brings to the table.

Patrick McCaw, SG, 22 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $1.9MM deal in 2016
The Warriors seem receptive to developing McCaw into a potentially reliable rotation player, as evidenced by their decision to start him six times already this season. To this point in the season, however, he hasn’t exactly flourished when given the opportunity. McCaw’s situation is much like Looney’s. He’ll be a cheap option that they’ve worked with in-house. Given the financial restraints that the front office will be dealing with due to the rest of the roster, they may be happy to retain a 22-year-old that they can at least potentially groom into a reliable rotation player.

JaVale McGee, C, 30 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017JaVale McGee vertical
McGee put forth his most notable season in years when he debuted with the Warriors in 2016/17 but hasn’t replicated that success in 2017/18. Due to matchup issues in the small ball era and the emergence of rookie Jordan Bell, the team just doesn’t need McGee’s energy and length as much as it did in his first year with the team. Considering that the big man isn’t getting any younger, it’s hard to imagine him landing much on the market if all he could manage to yield after last year’s solid campaign was another one-year, minimum contract.

Zaza Pachulia, C, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.5MM deal in 2017
The Warriors have started Pachulia in all 109 of the games that he’s suited up in over the course of his two years with the franchise but this year his time on the court has dropped to its lowest point since 2009/10. Could that be an indication that the club is open to moving on in 2018? The Dubs gave Pachulia, a dinosaur in today’s game, more money than they needed to last summer but now that finances are even tighter, they may not be so generous. Expect Pachulia in a reserve role for the veteran’s minimum, if he’s even back in the Bay Area at all.

David West, C, 37 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2017
West has been an extremely productive role player for the Warriors off the bench in 2017/18, exactly what basketball fans outside of northern California feared when the former All-Star decided to crawl onto the Dubs’ bandwagon in 2016. West has had old-man game since he broke into the league, so regression isn’t exactly an issue. Expect him back playing meaningful minutes with Golden State until he decides to retire.

Nick Young, SG, 33 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.2MM deal in 2017
Young is a potent three-point shooter that slots in well with the rest of Golden State’s rotation but does he provide enough to justify what his $5M+ contract will amount to when the luxury tax bill is calculated? The Warriors may gauge Young’s receptiveness to returning on a cheaper deal in 2018/19. If he isn’t interested, expect him to pound the pavement and eventually land somewhere as a hired gun on a short-term deal. If logic prevails, he’ll be a valuable depth piece with the Warriors for years to come… but that might be a big if.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Bell, Young, McGee

Stephen Curry is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and his shooting ability is one of the main reasons why. He obliterated his own record for made three-pointers during his unanimous MVP season two years ago, but he is actually having a better season from a shooting perspective in 2017/18.

Micah Adams of ESPN breaks down Curry’s field-goal selection and how the 29-year-old is compensating for shooting a lower percentage from beyond the arc compared to his 2015/16 season by taking better overall shots. Instead, Curry’s field-goal percentage (49.5%) and free-throw percentage (91.8%) are among the best totals he has posted in a season.

All told, the Warriors‘ point guard has averaged 27.7 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 5.3 RPG in 31 contests this year. Curry missed 11 games earlier in the sesason due to an ankle sprain.

Check out other news from the Warriors organization below:

Pacific Notes: Ball, Looney, Cauley-Stein

When Lonzo Ball ignored an on-court scuffle between some of his Lakers teammates and members of the Suns on Friday, the rookie took heat for not stepping into the fray to defend them. As Jordan Greer of the Sporting News writes, however, head coach Luke Walton doesn’t have any issues with how the first-year guard handled the situation.

I don’t really care about how that looks because our guys love Zo,” Walton said. “I think [the rest of the Lakers] all know what that looked like isn’t what Zo is about and isn’t symbolizing what his feelings are on that type of situation. I know the general public and the internet world likes to do what they do.

Fellow Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma went so far as to call out a double standard between Ball and other players in the NBA. “He’s my teammate and he’s very misunderstood as a person,” Kuzma said. “There’s a lot of media out there and people that expect him to be something that he’s not right now and that’s okay because he’s a rookie.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite the fact that his team option for next season was declined, Kevon Looney has impressed with the Warriors so far this season, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. “Obviously, it’s a tough situation to not get your option picked up. But it’s on you to do something about it, and he’s doing something about it. … The success that he’s having, I’m looking forward to him keeping it up. He’s been helping us win games,” teammate Draymond Green said.
  • In addition to learning the NBA game after years of international ball, Kings rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic is learning three positions. Combined, it’s led to a bit of learning curve, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. “The basketball is really different here. A lot of athletes, the size is different as well. Those are all things that come by time, that’s part of the adjustment,” Bogdanovic said.
  • The Kings have experimented with new lineups over the course of the season, one of the latest being to move Willie Cauley-Stein to the bench and giving him an expanded role on offense. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that even though Cauley-Stein seemed to enjoy the new challenge, the club will likely continue to experiment with different personnel combinations.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Deng, Looney, Kings

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were the Clippers‘ leaders for years, but the two stars weren’t always on the same page, and Austin Rivers acknowledges that the dynamic between the two players was “weird,” as Lee Jenkins of relays.

“I don’t know why. It was just strange,” Rivers said. “No one knew who the leader was, and if you had something to say, it would turn into an argument. I think people were sometimes scared to say something to Blake, because you didn’t know how he’d react. [Now] he’s a whole different person, more approachable, and I think it’s because we’ve embraced him. We know who our leader is. We’re all-in with Blake Griffin.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific division:

  • While the Lakers and Luol Deng are both open to getting a trade or buyout done, actually completing a deal will be difficult, according to Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. The trade market for Deng is “non-existent,” a source tells Oram, and unless the Lakers can convince the veteran forward to give back a significant chunk of money, there’s little incentive for the team to release him.
  • After having his 2018/19 option declined by the Warriors, Kevon Looney admits that he wasn’t surprised by the decision, and says he isn’t stressed about it. Logan Murdock of The Bay Area News Group has the details, along with the quotes from Looney.
  • The Kings have multiple young prospects capable of playing center, including starter Willie Cauley-Stein, but the team has performed well when veteran Zach Randolph shifts to the five. As Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes, it will be interesting to see whether Sacramento continues to focus on developing their youngsters and only uses Randolph as an “emergency” option at the center, or if he’ll start to play more consistent minutes at the five.

Warriors Won’t Pick Up Looney’s Option

The Warriors will not pick up their fourth-year option on forward Kevon Looney, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.

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.

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Looney, Bennett

If Austin Rivers is going to silence naysayers who claim his career has been propped up by his head coach father, now is as good an opportunity as any. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times spoke with the 25-year-old Clippers guard about life after Chris Paul.

Rivers averaged 12.0 points per game in 74 games for the Clippers last season but drove that up to 16.1 in 29 games as a starter. With Paul and shooting guard J.J. Redick  no longer with the squad, he could see a lot more time as a primary scoring option.

Rivers also spoke about the rumor that Paul requested a trade because Doc Rivers, then still the president of basketball operations, refused to trade his son in an effort to bring Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers.

I talked to him after that rumor came out, confronted him about it and he said it wasn’t coming from him or coming from his camp,” Austin said. “So we left it at that.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Although the mission was to get the Kings into the postseason when he signed on with the team, head coach Dave Joerger is comfortable with and committed to the rebuild at hand, too, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes.
  • Now down to 232 pounds, the lightest he’s been in years, 24-year-old Anthony Bennett is ready to resuscitate his career, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes. The former first-overall pick is on a non-guaranteed deal with the Suns.
  • The Warriors could wait until the deadline to accept Kevon Looney‘s fourth-year option, Anthony Slater of the Athletic writes. The forward has been hard-struck by injuries over the course of the past few years but could finally be ready to show potential.