Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney Expected To Make Return

The Warriors have been without Kevon Looney since opening night, but the big man is expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Hawks, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Looney injured his hamstring early in the season and upon further testing, the team announced that the big man was suffering from “nerve-related symptoms.”

Looney started to practice with the franchise’s G League affiliate a few weeks ago and there was hope that he would return to the lineup during the current Warriors’ five-game road trip. The team’s game tonight in Atlanta is the third game of that road trip, and with Draymond Green set to miss the contest (rest), Looney should see some meaningful minutes.

The former No. 30 overall pick re-signed with the Warriors this offseason on a three-year, $15MM pact. The deal came on the heels of an impressive postseason for the big man.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Looney, Suns

Lakers All-Star Anthony Davis will return to New Orleans on Wednesday in a nationally-televised game, marking his first time playing in the city since being traded to the team in June.

Davis, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the franchise, understands that he’ll likely receive a chorus of boos upon his return. His trade request last season hit the organization like a ton of bricks, catching an already-upset fanbase by surprise.

Davis admitted on Saturday it’s been challenging not to think about the team’s upcoming game and the personal importance it holds.

“It’s hard not to think about,” Davis said. “You’re just waiting for it to happen. It’s going to be different, obviously. Going through a different entrance, being in a different locker room, all those types of things. We’ll get to it man, when it’s time to play them.

“It’s definitely something that’s kind of in the back of my mind, but I’m trying to keep everything else in front of me. Right now it’s San Antonio (on Monday). So we’ll get there, get out of San Antonio and head back there (to New Orleans). It’ll feel weird staying at a hotel, taking buses to the arena and stuff like that. It’s going to be different, but my job is just to go in there and play and just get the win.”

Through 15 games with the Lakers, Davis has averaged 25.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and three blocks per contest on 48% shooting from the floor and 36% from deep. He received overwhelming boos from fans in his first home game after requesting a trade last season, and he expects much of the same on Wednesday.

“I got a little bit of it after the trade (request), that first game against Minnesota,” Davis said. “It felt like I was on the other side. I got a little taste of it, but I know it’s going to be even worse (this time around). I don’t really know what to prepare for, but I’m happy with the win.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors big man Kevon Looney revealed he’s been dealing with a nerve injury for the past two-to-three years, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter link). Looney, who’s missed the past 16 games with the injury, expects to return this coming week. He’s served as a key cog in Golden State’s rotation during his career, averaging 6.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 18.5 minutes in 80 games last season.
  • The Suns have revealed plans for a makeover of Talking Stick Resort Arena, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. The arena is set to undergo a renovation worth $230MM, with 60% of the upgrades scheduled to be finished by the start of next season. “I think the community is going to be really happy about what we’ve done,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said. “I know the city is happy about it. We’re happy about it. They get a chance to see the design pictures. They get a chance to see what it’s going to looks like. It brings a lot of excitement.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/19/2019

Here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Warriors have sent Kevon Looney to the Santa Cruz Warriors for a rehab assignment, as the team announces on its website. Golden State also assigned Alen Smailagic to the G League.
  • The Raptors have assigned Dewan Hernandez to the Raptors 905, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays on Twitter. On Wednesday, the two teams will have a doubleheader, with the G League squad playing in the morning and the NBA club at night.
  • The Jazz recalled Miye Oni and Nigel Williams-Goss from the Salt Lake City Stars before practice today. The club sent the pair back to the G League afterward, as the team passes along on Twitter.
  • The Spurs have recalled Keldon Johnson from the Austin Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Johnson may see action for the Spurs this week, as they have a back-to-back later in the week.
  • The Wolves have sent Naz Reid to their G League affiliate, the team announces. The former LSU Tiger was with the Iowa Wolves over the weekend.

Warriors Notes: Future, Russell, Green, Looney

No matter how poorly this season turns out for the Warriors, the franchise is in good position for the future, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Golden State has seen a nightmarish run of injuries dating back to last year’s NBA Finals, and while none of the currently active players were on the roster last season, the situation gives the front office time to assess what they have before trying to jump back into title contention in 2020/21.

Windhorst notes that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all in the prime of their careers and are under long-term contracts. In addition, the first-round pick the Warriors owe Brooklyn in 2020 is top-20 protected and seems in no danger of conveying. It could wind up high in the lottery and provide another building block for the future. Also, Golden State holds a $17MM trade exception from the Andre Iguodala deal that doesn’t expire until July 7, and the franchise has the top source of revenue in the league thanks to a new arena.

The team also has a prime trade asset in D’Angelo Russell, who becomes eligible to be dealt on December 15. Windhorst believes the Warriors can get another first-round pick and at least a role player for Russell, who is in position to be showcased once he returns from an ankle injury. He adds that if no deal can be reached by the trade deadline, Russell should keep his trade value for the summer.

Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks, who signed with Golden State expecting to be part of a playoff team, suddenly look like valuable trade assets as well, Windhorst adds.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Golden State started three rookies for the third consecutive game tonight, and coach Steve Kerr told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that the immediate focus will be on player development. “While we have guys out, we have to try to bring along our young players, help them develop and give them every opportunity to develop into rotation players, maybe even starters,” Kerr said. “If we can do that, that makes this a successful season or half season, however long it is. And we have a leg up when guys get healthy again.”
  • Green, who has a torn ligament in his left index finger, didn’t accompany the team on its current road trip, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He won’t return to action until Monday at the earliest.
  • The Warriors are encouraged by the latest tests on Kevon Looney, who is undergoing treatment for a neuropathic condition, Slater adds (Twitter link). The team believes he will be able to play again this season, but he has been ruled out for the next two weeks.

Kevon Looney Dealing With Neuropathic Condition

The Warriors have announced that center Kevon Looney won’t play during their upcoming road trip, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Looney will see a specialist to diagnose a neuropathic condition, which involves pain that results from an injury to the nervous system.

Coach Steve Kerr said it’s a problem Looney has been experiencing for a couple of years, and it was responsible for hamstring issues that sidelined him for much of the preseason and forced him out of Thursday’s season opener (Twitter link). Looney started the game, but was only able to play 10 minutes before exiting.

Looney is coming off his best NBA season, appearing in 80 games a year ago and averaging 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per night. He was being counted on to team with Willie Cauley-Stein to fill the gap at center after free agency losses, but both players have been slowed by injuries.

Cauley-Stein, who missed the entire preseason with a strained left foot, is getting closer to returning, Slater adds (Twitter link). He also won’t play on the road trip, but was able to work out today at the team’s G League facility in Santa Cruz.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Chriss, Hard Cap

Stephen Curry hasn’t given up on the championship dream with the Warriors this season despite the loss of Kevin Durant and long-term injury to Klay Thompson, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“A championship is still the goal,” Curry said. “It’s always been. We’ve experienced it all and we’re going to keep pushing to get back there. That’s the goal. It’s the North Star. The narrative might have changed internally, but we’re still chasing the same goal.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Frontcourt injuries have made for a difficult preseason, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. The Warriors have gone most of the preseason without Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney and their absences have shown in preseason losses to the Lakers. “We need to get healthy,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You have to have rim protection in this league.” Kerr is hopeful that Looney, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, can return for the season opener, Slater tweets.
  • The team is now technically $375K under the hard cap after deciding to waive Alfonzo McKinnie and retaining Marquese Chriss, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. However, since Chriss’ contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th, the Warriors are essentially $2MM below the hard cap with Chriss’ deal counting $9,485 daily until that deadline, Nahmad adds.
  • Draymond Green ripped the Suns’ organization for mishandling Chriss during his time there, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Chriss was the eighth overall pick in 2016 but lasted just two seasons in Phoenix. “No one ever blames these (lousy) franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault,” Green said.

Myers: Warriors Will Provide Klay Thompson Update At All-Star Break

After tearing his ACL during the NBA Finals in the spring, Klay Thompson has expressed doubt that he’ll be back on the court for the Warriors before the All-Star break. Speaking today to reporters, Golden State’s president of basketball operations Bob Myers confirmed as much.

He’s doing fine,” Myers said of Thompson. “We’ll have an update on him at the All-Star break.”

Assuming Thompson’s rehab process doesn’t unexpectedly speed up in the coming months, the earliest he might return would be February 20, the Warriors’ first game after the All-Star break. That would be the team’s 56th game of the season.

Of course, based on Myers’ comment that the Warriors won’t even provide an update on their All-Star sharpshooter until mid-February, it’s also possible that his return date will come even later than that.

As we wait to see how Thompson’s recovery progresses, here are a few more Warriors notes from Media Day:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein suffered a strained left foot during a recent workout and will miss training camp, Myers said today (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that Kevon Looney now looks like the probable starter at center to open the season.I had big plans for Looney anyway,” Kerr said (Twitter link via Slater).
  • Myers said that there are no plans to put Stephen Curry on a minutes limit or to have him sit out games this season for load management reasons (Twitter link via Friedell). Still, the Warriors will keep an eye on the former MVP’s minutes as the seasons unfolds.
  • Kerr said he intends to stagger Curry’s and D’Angelo Russell‘s minutes to some extent this season to help balance the Warriors’ offense (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated).
  • Myers admitted that it will be hard to make any changes to Golden State’s roster this season due to the team’s hard cap (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today).

Pacific Notes: Kings, Walton, Looney, Feld

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Luke Walton said Kings fans should expect his team to make the playoffs and defensive improvement will be the key, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. The Kings, who had the ninth-best record in the Western Conference, ranked 20th or lower last season in defensive field-goal percentage, points allowed, points in the paint allowed, opponents’ second-chance points and defensive rebounding percentage.

“Defense is it,” the Kings’ new head coach said. “That’s our priority. That’s what we’re going to start training camp with. That’s what we’re going to start practices with — defense, defense, defense — and that’s where we’re going to make a big jump.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Walton only addressed the sexual assault lawsuit filed against him in vague terms, according to another story by Anderson. League investigators have cleared him, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to support the allegations.  The civil lawsuit is still pending. “I’m here to do my job and focus on our Kings and get us where we need to get, and the rest will take care of itself,” Walton said.
  • Warriors forward Kevon Looney is content with the three-year, $15MM contract he received from the franchise, as he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Looney might have gotten more from another club but elected to stay put during the first day of free agency. “The Kawhi Leonard thing was dragging out. A lot of guys wanted to wait until it was over. I didn’t want to wait,” he said. “I know the Warriors like to move fast. They were making a lot of changes with the team. I knew — if I wasn’t going to get a big payday — this was where I wanted to be. So I made it happen.”
  • The Northern Arizona Suns – Phoenix’s G League affiliate – have named Jeff Feld as their general manager, according to a team press release. Feld, 31, had been the Windy City Bulls’ manager of basketball operations. Dylan DeBusk, who served as interim GM for Northern Arizona last season, has been elevated to Phoenix’s personnel analyst/G League operations manager.

Klay Thompson Talks New-Look Warriors, ACL, Durant

For the first time since they landed Kevin Durant in free agency in 2016, the Warriors won’t enter a season as the overwhelming favorites to win the title. Still, despite the fact that Durant is no longer on the roster and Klay Thompson isn’t expected to be back on the court until sometime after the All-Star break, Thompson is enthusiastic about Golden State’s future, as he tells Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.

Singling out newly-added free agents D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein and expressing excitement about Kevon Looney‘s development, the veteran sharpshooter suggested he’s not worried about fans or experts writing off the Dubs.

“That’s fine. That’s sports,” Thompson said. “I don’t just think we’re going to be nice this year. I think we’ve got a five-year window. We’re still so young, man. People get lost thinking, ‘Oh, they’re 30 now.’ I feel younger than ever.”

In addition to publishing a full-length feature on Klay, Marcus Thompson also relayed a few leftover quotes that didn’t make it into his full story, so there are plenty of noteworthy comments to pass along from the five-All-Star. Here are a few of them:

On tearing his ACL during Game 6 of the NBA Finals:

“I think about that every day. That’s just the humbling part of sports — when you feel like you’re at your best, something traumatic can happen. But I honestly felt like I was at the peak of my NBA career up to that point. I was at my best. The way I was shooting the ball, the way I was playing defense. I felt like I was one of the best players out there. In past series, or Finals, you know, I’ve been able to defer. But in that series, I felt like I was just, like, as close to unstoppable as I’ve ever been.”

On whether the Warriors would have won the Finals if not for his ACL injury:

“In my mind, yes, we would’ve won if I didn’t get hurt. But that’s just the nature of sports, you know? What-ifs. It doesn’t matter. It’s if you do your deed or not. In my mind, I think we would’ve. But you never know. That’s the hard part you’ve got to accept. I look at all the guys who had bad luck getting injured against us the last few years, and I’ve honestly become so much more sympathetic. Yeah. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

On Durant leaving the Warriors for the Nets:

“It was no hard feelings, man. I know Kevin. It sucks because we go from the most dominant team ever to — a really good team, but that’s still a big drop-off, you know. I just enjoyed playing with him, man. It’s fun to play with him every day. He’s such a hard worker and he’s fun to watch. He really is just a great basketball player. I’ll miss that.”

Western Notes: Caruso, Looney, Robinson lll

Lakers guard Alex Caruso drew interest from roughly a dozen teams in restricted free agency this summer, including the Grizzlies and Warriors, according to Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report.

Caruso, 25, signed a two-year contract worth $5.5MM to re-join the Lakers in July. He showed promise in limited time with the club last season, averaging 9.2 points on 45% shooting in 25 games.

“Especially from where I come from, the path to get there,” said Caruso, “it hit me in little waves, little shocks here and there, where I’d be talking to my mom or dad or sisters or my buddies back home, and like, having to type out, Yeah, I signed a two-year, $5.5MM with the Lakers. To actually say that out loud is a pretty cool feeling.”

Caruso is expected to provide backcourt depth with the Lakers this season. He could compete in training camp for a starting role or come off the bench for a third straight year, with head coach Frank Vogel having several options to sift through as the regular season nears.

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

  • examines the story and upcoming season of Kevon Looney, who’s set to enter his fifth campaign with the Warriors this fall. Looney, 23, holds career-averages of 4.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 14 minutes per contest. “As the game goes on and players get tired, Loon gets more and more rebounds,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He just has a knack for the ball. Really long arms. Great feel for the game. And so his rebounding… really a big key for us.”
  • Glenn Robinson III is set to bring hops and an offensive spark to Golden State in his first year with the team, as detailed in a separate article from Robinson signed a free-agent deal to join the Warriors this summer after concluding his fifth NBA season. “When I was with the Pacers, I guarded the best player on the court whenever they came on, and I look forward to doing that this year with a defender like Klay [Thompson] (recovering from injury),” Robinson said.