Kevon Looney

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.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/24/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:


  • The Warriors recalled forward Kevon Looney from their D-League affiliate earlier today, the team announced in a press release. Looney, who put up 10 points and eight boards in just 13 minutes for Santa Cruz on Thursday night, is back with Golden State for tonight’s game against Sacramento.


  • The Bulls recalled Cameron Payne from Windy City, the team announced via press release. Payne has made nine NBA appearances since being acquired from OKC, scoring 54 points on 33.9% shooting in that span. In his most recent D-League stop, Payne scored 14 points with eight assists and seven rebounds in a win over the Iowa Energy.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/20/17

Here are the D-League transactions from Monday:

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/17/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors assigned Kevon Looney to Santa Cruz, the team announced on its official website (link). The assignment will allow Looney to soak up minutes against the Texas Legends in tonight’s game. Looney’s presence has been diminished in Steve Kerr’s rotation lately, averaging 5.2 minutes with six DNPs over Golden State’s last 12 games.
  • The Pelicans recalled Cheick Diallo from Greensboro, the team announced on its official website (link). Diallo will be available for tonight’s match-up with the Rockets. Diallo has impressed in the D-League this season, averaging 14 points with 8.2 rebounds over 23 games.
  • The Cavs assigned Larry Sanders to the Canton Charge, where he’ll be available for tomorrow’s game against the Windy City Bulls (press release). Sanders will likely have a one-game assignment, as the Charge don’t play again until the 23rd after Saturday’s game. While Sanders is expected to bolster Cleveland’s playoff run, he’s still a bit of a project after sitting out the entire 2015/16 season.

Pacific Notes: Gay, Joerger, Griffin, Warriors

Rudy Gay will have surgery Monday to fix a torn Achilles tendon, the Kings announced on their website. The procedure will be performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and Gay will be out for the remainder of the season. The injury may affect the free agent market, as Gay had planned to opt out of his $14,263,566 deal for next season.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Garrett Temple has taken Gay’s spot in the starting lineup for now, but long-term decisions may not be made until next month, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. If the Kings continue losing and slip out of the playoff race, coach Dave Joerger may elect to give more minutes to younger players. Rookie guard Malachi Richardson was used in the first half Saturday for the first time all season. “Just be a buncha different dudes running in and out of there,” Joerger said. “Trying to find something that fits as you go through it.”
  • Blake Griffin plans to be ready for the Clippers game Tuesday at Philadelphia, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Griffin has missed 17 games since undergoing minor knee surgery December 20th. “It’s as close as I can be, I think,” Griffin said Saturday. “It was good to get some contact in yesterday. So it’s good to get some like real work in besides just running and shooting. It’s kind of up to them.”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is using seven low-salaried big men in a rotation at center, writes Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury NewsZaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo, Anderson Varejao and Damian Jones are all getting minutes at the position, depending on the matchup.