Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney Undergoes Season-Ending Surgery

Warriors big man Kevon Looney underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a core muscle injury, the team announced in a press release. According to the club, he’ll begin rehab work immediately but isn’t expected to be ready to return until the start of the 2020/21 season.

It has been a disappointing 2019/20 campaign for Looney, who was hampered by health issues all season long, including an abdominal strain, hip issues, and a neuropathic condition.

In total, the 24-year-old appeared in just 20 games for Golden State, averaging 3.4 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 13.1 minutes per contest.

Looney is in the first season of a three-year deal that includes a guaranteed $4.8MM salary for 2020/21 and a $5.2MM player option for ’21/22. As such, it’s in the Warriors’ best interest to make sure he gets as healthy as possible for the start of next season. Golden State is 15-50 in ’19/20, so even if the team resumes play this summer, getting Looney back wouldn’t have been a priority at that time.

Western Notes: Giles, Looney, J. Green, Spurs

Harry Giles has played some of the best ball of his career as of late for the Kings, but his contract situation raises uncertainty about whether the team will be able to keep him this offseason, Greg Wissinger writes for The Sacramento Bee.

Giles, who missed his entire rookie season due to knee issues, had a part-time role for the Kings a year ago, averaging 7.0 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 58 games (14.1 MPG). However, despite flashing some potential, Giles had his fourth-year option for 2020/21 turned down by Sacramento last fall, ensuring that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer. When he does, the Kings won’t be able to offer him a starting salary worth more than $3,976,510, the value of the declined ’20/21 option.

It remains to be seen whether Giles will actually generate enough interest to receive an offer larger than that from a rival suitor, but he has been boosting his stock in recent weeks. The third-year big man has started 14 of 16 games for the Kings since the start of February, averaging 10.4 PPG and 6.3 RPG with a .624 FG% in 21.0 MPG during that stretch.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Although Kevon Looney just recently turned 24 years old, his health is becoming an ongoing concern for the Warriors, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, who notes that Looney’s diagnosis of neuropathy is a chronic condition that can only be managed, not fixed.
  • Jeff Green, the newest addition to Houston’s roster, has seen an increased role over the Rockets‘ last two games, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. Green was a +28 in the team’s nine-point loss to Charlotte on Saturday and went 8-for-8 from the floor on Sunday, making a strong case to continue playing extra minutes going forward.
  • Earlier this season, amidst chatter that he may be a candidate to become the Spurs‘ next head coach, Kansas coach Bill Self said there was “zero truth” to those rumors. Recently, Self reiterated that he has no plans to leave the Jayhawks to become Gregg Popovich‘s successor, as Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News relays. “People may say whatever because (Spurs CEO R.C. Buford and I) are buddies, which we are, and proud of that,” Self said. “But I am not going to be the next coach of the San Antonio Spurs, nor would he want me to be. I mean, they got arguably the greatest coach of all time that still has got a lot of gas in the tank. So, that is a rumor I know some people have said, but that is a pretty ridiculous one right there.”

Kevon Looney Out At Least 3 Weeks; Stephen Curry Diagnosed With Flu

Warriors center/power forward Kevon Looney is experiencing left hip soreness and will be re-evaluated in three weeks, the team announced on Twitter. Looney has missed the past three games because of pain in the hip area and has played only 20 times all season.

It has been a tough fifth season for Looney, who signed a three-year, $15MM extension last summer. He dealt with a a neuropathic condition early in the campaign, then an abdominal strain caused him to miss 18 games in December and January.

With five and a half weeks remaining, Golden State may decide to keep Looney out of action and get him ready for next season. However, coach Steve Kerr says the organization hasn’t considered that yet (Twitter link from Nick Friedell of ESPN)

In a separate tweet, the Warriors announced that Stephen Curry has been diagnosed with the flu. Team doctor Robert Nied is calling it a “seasonal flu,” adding that Curry has “no specific risk factors” for the coronavirus. Curry returned to action Thursday for the first time since breaking his left hand in late October.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney

Stephen Curry returned to the Warriors‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing more than four months due to a broken left hand. And while they couldn’t pick up a home win vs. the Raptors, the Dubs gave the defending champions all they could handle and looked like they were having more fun with their superstar back on the court.

Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State a month ago in a deadline trade with Minnesota, was on the court whenever Curry was on Thursday, with head coach Steve Kerr aiming to establish some chemistry between the new teammates. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Wiggins expressed enthusiasm after the game about playing alongside Curry for the first time.

“He makes everyone great,” Wiggins said of the two-time MVP. “He makes everyone play better. He finds open men. He’s like the most unselfish superstar. That’s a good way to put it. He attracts so much attention that he’s going to find the open man, and he makes the right play, so it was fun.”

The Warriors are still an NBA-worst 14-49, but Kerr believes Curry’s return represents a turning point for the team. The veteran head coach, who said that Curry felt good after playing 27 minutes and will get his minutes ramped up going forward (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), added that he expects to feel a “sense of energy and enthusiasm” in Golden State for the rest of the season.

“To me, this is sort of the beginning of next season in a lot of ways; and I think we’re all starting to get some clarity as far as what our team’s gonna look like,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And having Steph back is, obviously, a huge, huge part of that now. The next step will be getting Klay (Thompson) back, but that won’t be till next season. But I think these last 20 games are really going to be a springboard into next year, so I think that energy will be high and remain high.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green missed his fourth consecutive game with knee soreness on Thursday, but an MRI showed no structural damage, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I know he would’ve loved to have played tonight, but the training staff just doesn’t feel comfortable putting him out there yet,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of days it’s something that clears up.”
  • While it sounds like Green should be back soon, that may not be the case for another injured big man, Kevon Looney. He has missed three straight games with hip soreness, an injury Kerr referred to as “a concern,” per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors expect to have a more concrete update on Looney later today.
  • After a month with the Warriors, Wiggins said on Thursday that he feels “right at home” with his new team, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “It’s all been positive here. Just learning how they do things and what it’s like to be a part of a winning culture,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it was time for a change and this is the best fit that could have happened for me, so I’m happy.”
  • Wiggins hasn’t confirmed one way or the other whether he intends to suit up for Team Canada during the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament this June. However, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse – who is coaching Canada’s national team – is optimistic that the Warriors forward will participate, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays (via Twitter).

Trade Rumors: Knicks, Holiday, Lakers, Bulls, Warriors

Although the Knicks remains interested in D’Angelo Russell, he’s far from the only point guard the team is eyeing as the trade deadline nears. One player the Knicks has inquired on, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, is Pacers guard Aaron Holiday.

As Berman notes, the Knicks liked Holiday in the 2018 draft, working him out that year. Now in his second season, Holiday has built on a promising rookie season. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 3.5 APG with a .420 3PT% in 47 games (23.3 MPG) for the Pacers.

Acquiring Holiday won’t be easy for the Knicks, despite Indiana’s crowded backcourt. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported earlier in the week that the Pacers could probably acquire a first-round pick in exchange for Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • On ESPN’s trade deadline special on Wednesday, Zach Lowe suggested that Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Thunder guard Dennis Schroder are among the players the Lakers have inquired on as they look to add a play-maker (Twitter link via Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype). Their conversation with Oklahoma City on Schroder didn’t get very far, since OKC’s asking price is high, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. I imagine that’s the case with Brooklyn and Dinwiddie as well.
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso is drawing some trade interest, with multiple teams inquiring about his availability, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Bulls have received some trade calls today on Denzel Valentine, but nothing of substance, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Cowley adds that the Thaddeus Young market is “surprisingly quiet,” though Chicago thinks it could pick up as the deadline nears.
  • The Warriors might not be done after last night’s trade with Philadelphia. Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report hears that Golden State has shopped both Kevon Looney and Jacob Evans for tax reasons. The Dubs are still slightly above the tax after moving three minimum-salary players in trades this season.

Warriors Notes: Trades, Russell, Looney

Draymond Green admits that the vibe in the locker room in Golden State is different this year because of the trade deadline. There’s a bit of angst among the Warriors‘ players, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members recently.

“It’s not something that we focus on but we’re all realistic,” Green said. “We understand this business and what could possibly happen.”

D’Angelo Russell, who is being pursued by the Timberwolves,  and Alec Burks, who has drawn interest from the Mavericks, are among the Warriors who could be dealt prior to the trade deadline. Here’s more from Golden State:

  • Russell hears the trade chatter and isn’t letting it faze him, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. “It bothered me when we were further away from [the deadline],” Russell said. “But when we’re closer to it really happening, I’m numb to it. I’m just expecting a phone call. Let me know. … I’m just ready for whatever happens.”
  • The Warriors turned down a Kevin Knox-based package for Russell from the Knicks, according to Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com (Twitter link). Golden State would have wanted Mitchell Robinson and a future unprotected first-rounder for the former All-Star.
  • Kevon Looney, who returned to the court on the Warriors’ current road trip, says he just wants to “get back to feeling like an athlete again” after an injury-plagued season, as Slater relays in a separate piece. While he could be traded before Thursday, Looney hopes to be part of Golden State’s future and prove that he’s worth the three-year, $15MM contract that he inked during the offseason. “You get paid and you want to prove your worth,” Looney said. “You want to show the team they made a smart investment in you.”

 

Latest On Wolves’ Multi-Team D’Angelo Russell Trade Talks

As multiple reports have indicated, the Timberwolves have been making an effort to orchestrate multi-team trade talks involving the Warriors, Rockets, and Hawks that would help them land point guard D’Angelo Russell.

The basic goal of such a four-team deal would be get a center (Clint Capela) to Atlanta, a wing (Robert Covington) to Houston, Russell to Minnesota, and various assets to Golden State. However, according to those previous reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Minnesota and Golden State haven’t been able to find common ground on a package for Russell.

The Timberwolves may need to give the Warriors flexibility on which year(s) they’d prefer to get draft picks, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

Multi-team trades aren’t easy to complete, so this mega-trade is certainly no lock to get done. But it also doesn’t appear as if the clubs involved have given up yet. Here are the latest updates on these four-team discussions:

  • Within his report, Wojnarowski suggests that Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins would almost certainly have to be included in any trade involving Russell for financial reasons, and our Chris Crouse confirms (via Twitter) that Wiggins has been discussed as part of a potential deal.
  • According to Jabari Young of CNBC (Twitter link), Hawks swingman Evan Turner – who has a pricey expiring contract – and Warriors center Kevon Looney are among the other players whose names have come up as parts of this potential trade.
  • The Hawks, Timberwolves, and Warriors are talking about what draft picks (and possible protections) would be involved in the trade, according to Young (Twitter link). The Rockets aren’t involved in that aspect of the deal and would presumably just receive Covington and a center, Young adds.
  • Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) hears that the Rockets like Looney as a potential option to replace Capela in the middle if they can land a three-and-D upgrade such as Covington.
  • According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), a four-team, seven-player trade that includes Wiggins, Russell, Covington, Capela, Looney, Turner, and Nene could get both the Warriors and Rockets out of the tax. Wojnarowksi has suggested that the Warriors are interested in shedding some salary — they’d avoid repeater penalties if they sneak below the tax line this year.

Kevon Looney Probable To Return For Warriors Tonight

Warriors center Kevon Looney, who has missed 18 games with an abdominal strain, is set to return to the lineup tonight in a tilt against the Cavaliers, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Slater reports that Looney will be coming off the bench in his return, and will be restricted to a 20-minute limit. The UCLA alum has averaged 2.6 PPG and 2.9 RPG in just 10.5 minutes over 10 games.

Looney has not appeared in a game for Golden State since a December 23 win against the Timberwolves. The 6’9″ big man signed a three-year, $15MM contract with the Warriors this past summer after having a career-best season in 2018/19. He averaged 6.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.7 BPG in just 18.5 minutes per contest for the Warriors en route to the team’s fifth consecutive Finals appearance (and Looney’s fourth).

The Warriors could use all the help they can get; they currently have the worst record in the NBA, a paltry 10-39.

Injury Updates: Fox, Bagley, James, Looney, Washington, Winslow

The Kings offered some good news on guard De’Aaron Fox‘s latest ailment, according to a team press release. Fox left Thursday’s game in the first quarter against Minnesota with back spasms. A precautionary MRI revealed no structural damage and he will be listed as day-to-day. Big man Marvin Bagley III, who also made an early departure on Thursday, will have his left foot evaluated by a specialist Saturday.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Lakers star LeBron James thought he’d miss some time after getting injured on Christmas Day but that may not be the case, according to an ESPN report. James has a groin contusion and is listed as questionable to play against Portland on Saturday.
  • Big man Kevon Looney will miss the Warriors’ games this weekend with abdominal soreness, Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Looney has played just 10 games this season, mainly due to a hamstring issue.
  • Hornets rookie forward PJ Washington is listed as probable to play on Friday, the team’s PR department tweets. Washington suffered a fracture of his fifth finger on his right hand during a game against Chicago on December 13.
  • The injury to Justise Winslow‘s back is now listed as a bone bruise rather than a strain, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. The Heat’s point forward has not played since December 6.

Warriors Notes: Looney, Smailagic, Paschall

It was viewed as a coup for the Warriors when they were able to re-sign Kevon Looney to a three-year, $15MM contract this past summer, but the big man hasn’t been himself yet this season and received a DNP-CD on Wednesday night.

Looney, who spent much of the offseason recovering from the effects of a collarbone injury suffered in the NBA Finals, has also dealt with a neuropathic condition. His health issues have limited him to just eight games so far this season, and Kerr cited those problems when he explained his decision not to play the 23-year-old on Wednesday, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details.

“It’s hard to play 12 guys,” Kerr said. “And Looney is struggling to get his game back right now. … We’ve tried to help him play back into condition, but it’s not really fair to him or the team until he’s really in a better place physically.”

Kerr said that the Warriors still view Looney as “one of our foundational players” and that he’s counting on the young center to eventually get healthy and get his conditioning back up to speed. According to Kerr, this season is more about developing young prospects and evaluating players whose place in the club’s long-term future may not be assured, which is why he’s comfortable being patient with Looney.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Despite Kerr’s insistence that he’s not concerned about Looney, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area believes it may be time to sound the alarm, since there’s no guarantee the effects of neuropathy won’t continue to limit the big man.
  • Warriors rookie Alen Smailagic will “100 percent” make his NBA debut at some point this season, Kerr told reporters on Wednesday, per Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. However, it remains to be seen when that will happen, since the club wants Smailagic to continue playing big minutes for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League rather than seeing sporadic playing time at the NBA level.
  • While getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back will be the key to the Warriors’ bounce-back hopes in 2020/21, continued improvements from Eric Paschall will also be an important factor if the club wants to return to contending status, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes in an in-depth look at the rookie forward.