Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney Opting In For 2021/22 Season

Warriors big man Kevon Looney is picking up his $5.1MM option for next season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 25-year-old averaged 4.1 points and 5.3 rebounds this season as a part-time starter. He split time in the starting lineup with rookie center James Wiseman and took over the job after Wiseman was injured in April.

Looney has spent six years with Golden State after being taken with the 30th pick in the 2015 draft. He’s a 56.6% shooter from the floor in his career and played significant minutes on the Warriors teams that reached the NBA Finals for five straight seasons.

Looney’s player option was the only one facing the team for 2021/22.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Center, Oubre, Curry

Asked on Monday about James Wiseman‘s status, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the team was still getting “multiple opinions” on the rookie’s right knee injury. Reports on Sunday suggested Wiseman may miss the rest of the season due to a torn meniscus, but Kerr suggested last night that no decisions have been made yet.

“He had an MRI and so we’re having multiple experts look at the MRI to determine what’s next,” Kerr said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “We don’t have any timetable yet. The biggest thing is making sure James is OK. He’s obviously had a lot of adversity this rookie season, with the wrist injury, now the knee injury and of course missing training camp, not having a summer league. He’s really gutted through a lot of difficulty. … And so this is yet another obstacle that’s been put in front of him.”

Here are a few more notes on the Warriors:

  • Kevon Looney will replace Wiseman in Golden State’s lineup, and Kerr acknowledged on Monday that the team will consider adding another center to its roster before the end of the season, Friedell writes. “We’re obviously very thin in the frontcourt,” Kerr said. “That’s obviously something that we will be looking at as we go forward and once we get word on what James’ prognosis is.” The Warriors currently have one open spot on their 15-man roster and could create a second if they don’t re-sign Gary Payton II when his 10-day deal expires.
  • Within the same ESPN story, Friedell notes that Kelly Oubre remains day-to-day with the wrist injury that sidelined him on Saturday and Monday. “I talked to him (on Monday), he said he’s feeling better,” Kerr said. “So I don’t think this will be a long absence, but we’ll just continue to say day-to-day.”
  • Stephen Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain on Monday night to become the all-time leading scorer in Warriors history. With that in mind, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic explores what Curry and Chamberlain have meant to the Warriors and how both stars changed the game of basketball.

Pacific Notes: Holmes, Looney, D. Jones, Clippers

In case the Kings are thinking about moving impending free agent Richaun Holmes before Thursday’s trade deadline, Holmes is making sure the organization knows where his loyalties lie, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. After posting 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in Friday’s win at Boston, Holmes spoke of his fondness for the team.

I can’t say enough how much I love this city, love these fans, love my teammates, love stepping out there in Sacramento in my jersey representing this city,” he said. “It’s been some of the best times of my life.”

Holmes seemed like an under-the-radar signing when he joined the Kings in 2019, but he quickly became the team’s starting center. He’s averaging career highs in points (14.0), rebounds (8.7) and assists (1.3) this season and is leading the league in field goal percentage at 65.1%. He’s in line for a substantial raise this summer after making $5MM this year.

“The preparation has met the opportunity and hopefully I can keep getting better and keep making big plays for this team,” Holmes said.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors center Kevon Looney has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play in tonight’s game, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. The team isn’t sure how long Looney will be out of action, but players in the protocols usually have to sit out seven days, which would cause him to miss four games. With James Wiseman and Eric Paschall already in the protocols and Marquese Chriss out for the rest of the season with a broken leg, Golden State won’t have a true center in its lineup.
  • The Lakers haven’t announced a decision yet on center Damian Jones, whose second 10-day contract expires today, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Players are limited to two 10-day deals with the same team in one season, so L.A. would have to sign Jones for the rest of the season to keep him on the roster. “No decision has been made on that,” coach Frank Vogel said, “but he’s played well and we’ll see where that goes.” Jones has started five of the seven games he has played for the Lakers and is averaging 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per night.
  • Ben Golliver of The Washington Post explains why the Clippers may be the contender most in need a significant move by the trade deadline.

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Lakers, Whiteside, George, Warriors

Glenn Robinson III, who is currently away from the Kings for personal reasons, may not return to the team, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Robinson’s salary for 2020/21 is non-guaranteed, and teams must waive players on non-guaranteed contracts today in order to avoid taking on their full-season cap hits.

According to Anderson, Robinson is believed to be anticipating his release, but the Kings hadn’t communicated their intentions as of Tuesday night.

As Anderson explains, the situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Robinson is dealing with a knee injury. A team that waives an injured player who is on a non-guaranteed deal must continue paying him until he’s healthy enough to return or until his contract expires, whichever comes first. Robinson’s knee issue doesn’t appear serious, but it will be a factor for the Kings to consider as they mull their options.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores how waiving Quinn Cook gives the Lakers even more options on the buyout market, while Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times identify Kings center Hassan Whiteside as one frontcourt player the team could pursue either via trade or buyout.
  • Clippers forward Paul George was pleased to earn All-Star honors, but is among the players who don’t believe the game should be played at all this season, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. George told reporters that he was fined earlier in the season for having a teammate over to his house, which is one reason why he questions the decision to bring 24 players from all over the league to Atlanta for the All-Star Game.
  • The return of Stephen Curry (37 points) made the biggest impact in the Warriors‘ win over New York on Tuesday, but head coach Steve Kerr was also pleased to have centers James Wiseman and Kevon Looney available again, telling reporters that Wiseman looked “great” and that Looney “makes the game easier for everybody else” (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN). Wiseman missed 11 games with a wrist injury, while Looney was out for 10 games due to an ankle sprain.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Wiseman, Looney, Cousins, Lakers, Robinson

The Warriors could have most of the regulars back in action on Tuesday against the Knicks. Stephen Curry missed Saturday’s loss to Charlotte but practiced on Monday and is expected to play Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Coach Steve Kerr also indicated big men James Wiseman and Kevon Looney could play after participating in the practice. Looney has been out since February 2 with an ankle sprain. Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the draft, has been sidelined since January 30 with a wrist injury.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Executives whom Sean Deveney spoke to believe that DeMarcus Cousins would be a bad fit for the Lakers. Cousins is being held out of action as Houston seeks to deal him. Cousins hasn’t shot it well this season and his diminished mobility makes him a liability on defense. The team also has limited salary available to add another player.
  • The absences of Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder are taking a toll on the Lakers and the schedule isn’t helping, Jovan Buha of The Athletic notes. They had lost two straight heading into Monday’s game against Washington while struggling to find offensive answers. They also play four teams with winning records before the All-Star break.
  • Kings swingman Glenn Robinson III is not currently with the team due to personal reasons, James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets. Robinson has appeared in 23 games, averaging 5.3 PPG in 16.0 MPG. Sacramento must decide this week whether to fully guarantee Robinson’s $2MM contract.

California Notes: Looney, Wiseman, Lakers, Santa Cruz Warriors

Warriors center Kevon Looney, sidelined since spraining his left ankle in a February 2 loss to the Celtics, has rejoined the Warriors for “segments of practice” and is planning on suiting up with the club during Golden State’s impending road trip, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle details the import of the big man’s return to the lineup in a new piece. “I always joked that I never hurt my ankle,” Looney said after incurring the injury. “I guess karma caught up with me.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Warriors rookie center James Wiseman, out with a left wrist injury suffered on January 30,  rejoined Golden State for practice on Tuesday, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. The No. 2 overall draft pick out of Memphis, Wiseman has a chance to return to the court for the Warriors as soon as Friday against a depleted Magic team. “With a sprained wrist you don’t know if it will be one week, two weeks or three, so I’m just following each procedure, but there are no setbacks,” Wiseman said.
  • The Lakers are seeing their frontcourt depth tested with the extended absence of All-Star power forward/center Anthony Davis, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. Kyle Kuzma has taken over starting duties, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell is seeing expanded minutes as a super-sub. Starting center Marc Gasol and reserve power forward Markieff Morris have also seen more run in the rotation.
  • spoke to Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Dana about how Golden State’s G League affiliate team is adjusting to life in the 2021 NBAGL Orlando “bubble.” Dana lauded the output thus far of young prospects Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole.

Warriors’ Looney Out At Least Two Weeks With Ankle Sprain

5:33pm: Looney will be sidelined for the next two weeks before being reassessed, per a tweet from the club’s PR department.

8:08am: The Warriors lost another center during Tuesday’s loss to Boston, as Kevon Looney exited after spraining his left ankle during the first half. As Nick Friedell of ESPN writes, Looney underwent an MRI after the game that confirmed the sprain, and head coach Steve Kerr said he expects the starting center to miss multiple games.

“I don’t expect him to play the next couple of games,” Kerr said. “It was a significant enough sprain where it looks like he’ll be out for a little bit.”

Typically, having to get by without Looney for a few games wouldn’t be a major problem for the Warriors, but the injury comes at a time when the team is already significantly shorthanded at the five. Marquese Chriss will miss most or all of the season with a broken leg, Alen Smailagic is recovering from knee surgery, and rookie James Wiseman is expected to be sidelined for at least a week due to a sprained wrist.

According to Friedell, Kerr said after the game that Eric Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson will take on bigger roles up front, with Draymond Green spending more time at center as well. That will be a small frontcourt — Golden State has no healthy players taller than 6’7″, so rebounding could be an issue in the short term, as it was on Tuesday when the Celtics out-rebounded the Warriors 51-36.

Signing a free agent to help plug the hole at center is one option the Warriors may consider, but as Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes, any new addition would have to return negative coronavirus tests for six consecutive days before being cleared. By that time, Looney and/or Wiseman could be getting close to a return.

Golden State also doesn’t currently have an open roster spot, so signing someone new would require waiving someone — possibly Mychal Mulder, who has a non-guaranteed contract.

Warriors Notes: Looney, Wiseman, Wiggins, Poole, Smailagic

After opening the door over the weekend to a possible starting lineup adjustment, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made a change at center on Monday night, inserting Kevon Looney into his starting five in place of rookie James Wiseman, as Nick Friedell of ESPN details.

Looney scored just two points on the night, but he was a plus-21 as Golden State defeated Minnesota 130-108. While the lineup change was effective on Monday, Kerr wasn’t ready to commit to it becoming a permanent solution.

“From the beginning, we’re trying to win games too,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And so I have to figure out what that means. All it meant tonight was let’s start Loon, let’s try to get off to a better start, flip their roles, and I think it worked out well. It doesn’t mean I’m going to do it the whole year. It just feels like what I should do right now.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Following Monday’s win over Minnesota, Kerr admitted that he’s not ignoring the impact that beating the Timberwolves – and keeping them near the bottom of the NBA standings – has on the Warriors’ draft outlook (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Golden State will receive the Wolves’ first-round pick if it doesn’t land in the top three.
  • Andrew Wiggins, who had spent his entire NBA career in Minnesota before being traded to the Warriors a year ago, praised Golden State’s “winning culture” after beating his old team on Monday. “It’s very positive over here, very positive, everyone’s getting along. No egos, nothing like that,” Wiggins said, per Friedell. “Everyone just wants to win. It’s just a winning attitude, winning culture, everything is about winning.” Although Wiggins didn’t specifically address the Wolves’ culture, it’s probably safe to assume he wouldn’t describe it in exactly the same terms.
  • Jordan Poole and Alen Smailagic will join two-way player Nico Mannion in the G League bubble, Kerr confirmed on Monday, per Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area. All three players will depart Sunday and will suit up for the Santa Cruz Warriors at Walt Disney World next month. “Hopefully we stay healthy during that time so those guys get as much experience as they can,” Kerr said. “They all need to play.”

Pacific Notes: CP3, Suns, Clippers, Ibaka, Morris, Warriors

At age 35, Chris Paul is more than a decade older than Suns cornerstone players Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. However, the star point guard doesn’t plan to simply be the veteran mentor on a young Phoenix roster — he made it clear during his first media session this week that he also wants to help the team get back to the postseason, as Royce Young of ESPN writes.

“Everyone always talks about what I can teach (Booker) or teach some of these other guys, but they’re teaching me at the same time too,” Paul said. “I’m not James Naismith by no means. First things first, I’m not just coming in here trying to teach everybody. I’m his teammate. We’re here to hoop, we’re here to compete and that’s how I approach this.”

Meanwhile, Booker and Ayton are excited by the opportunity to team up with a 10-time All-Star like Paul, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, who says both players were shocked when they first heard about the trade bringing CP3 to Phoenix.

“I wanted to do a backflip,” Ayton said. “You ever seen a seven-footer do a backflip? OK. That’s how excited I was.”

Besides getting an opportunity to play with up-and-coming stars like Booker and Ayton, Paul is looking forward to reuniting with head coach Monty Williams, whom he played for in New Orleans for a single season 10 years ago. Williams said this week that he thinks both he and Paul have “grown a lot” in the last decade.

“I think we both were really headstrong, too, back then,” Williams said, according to Young. “I was walking around like a dictator ready to cut somebody’s head off, trying to implement my way and my program. I don’t think I was really good at allowing him to do what the great ones do. There were times I felt like I took the paintbrush out of (Paul’s) hand.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After chemistry issues helped sink the Clippers last season, head coach Tyronn Lue is confident he’ll be able to hold players accountable in his new role by always being blunt and honest, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “What I learned from Brian Shaw a long time ago was always tell the truth, whether they like it or not,” Lue said. “Even (back in his playing days) with Kobe and Shaq, just telling those guys the truth. They might not like it, but they respect it.”
  • Serge Ibaka‘s friendship with Kawhi Leonard was a factor in his decision to join the Clippers in free agency, he said on Thursday, as Swanson relays in a separate O.C. Register story. “One thing about me and Kawhi is like, there is no ego in our friendship,” Ibaka said. “… I know who he is and he knows as a teammate what I can do for him, for the team and it is make things smoother and easier.”
  • Lakers forward Markieff Morris said this week that rumors last month about him potentially teaming up with twin brother Marcus Morris for the Clippers were “just talk,” per Swanson. “They were just trying to scare Lakers fans,” Markieff said.
  • Warriors big man Marquese Chriss is confident that there will be plenty of minutes at center to go around around for him, Kevon Looney, and No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, as Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area details.

Steve Kerr Offers Insight Into Warriors’ Mini-Camp

The Warriors reunited for their team mini-camp on September 23, and while veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green did not join the team for workouts, starters Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins did.

In speaking with media about the team’s progress in practices, head coach Steve Kerr noted that the team will not hold any more formal intra-squad scrimmages during its mini-camp, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports that Wiggins is slated to depart the mini-camp this weekend, ahead of its official end on Tuesday (Twitter link).

Although Thompson, who missed all of the 2019/20 season due to an ACL tear suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, did partake in some elements of the mini-camp, Kerr asserted that the veteran sharpshooter would most likely not participate in 5-on-5 team workouts, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

Friedell notes in a separate tweet that center Kevon Looney, who played in just 20 games during the 2019/20 season due to various ailments, has impressed Kerr during the mini-camp. Kerr said that if Looney looks the way he did in the 2018/19 season, he anticipates that the big man will be slotted back into the rotation at a regular 20-25 minutes per game.

This spring, Looney underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury which contributed to some of his absences during 2019/20. Looney will earn $4.8MM in 2020/21, with a $5.1MM player option for the ’21/22 season.

Meanwhile, free agent veteran swingman Jonathon Simmons was among the non-roster players who earned an invitation to the Warriors’ team mini-camp. Slater tweets that Kerr had high praise for Simmons’s performance in the mini-camp thus far, and alluded to the possibility that the free agent may have a future with Golden State.

“Possibly,” Kerr said. “We could use the length on the wing.”

Simmons most recently played for the club’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, in February and March.