Kevon Looney

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.

Pacific Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Rondo, Thompson, Looney

Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has a decision to make regarding free agency after the season, has displayed his value during the Western Conference Finals, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times notes.

Caldwell-Pope has been one of several defenders assigned to slow down Jamal Murray. He’s also contributed on offense, including 13 points in the Lakers’ pivotal Game 4 victory on Thursday. Caldwell-Pope holds an $8.54MM option on his contract for next season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Anthony Davis‘ first order of business after being acquired by the Lakers was to encourage guard Rajon Rondo to re-sign, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (hat tip to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register). “He was the first person I called,” Davis said. “I told him that I wanted him to come back because I knew how much I excel with him and how much of a leader he is and his mindset on the floor and will to win.” Rondo holds a $2.62MM player option on his contract for next season after signing a two-year deal last summer.
  • Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson participated in his first full practice on Friday since he tore his left ACL in Game 6 of last year’s Finals, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Thompson has four years left on the five-year, $189.9MM contract that took effect this season. “It was great to have him out on the floor, in the locker room,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Just his presence alone gave us a jolt of energy and excitement. Practice went well. This is the first practice coming off an ACL injury and a year and a half absence so I didn’t expect him to be in top shape, in top form, and he was not, but he moved well and it’s a good first step.”
  • Warriors big man Kevon Looney is also practicing and says he can run freely again on the court after a variety of injuries, He was cleared for full contact last month after undergoing core surgery in May, Friedell tweets (Twitter links). “I couldn’t really jump, I couldn’t really slide,” Looney said. “Biggest part for me is to stop being scared. I played last season scared to move.”

Western Notes: Lakers, Looney, Ball, Nuggets

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday that Alex Caruso and Danny Green are listed as probable for Thursday’s Western Conference Finals Game 4 against the Nuggets, per Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

According to Vogel, Caruso is dealing with soreness in his right wrist and is getting a precautionary MRI. Green has an injured left ring finger. The 26-year-old Caruso only scored two points in 25 minutes off the bench in the Lakers’ Game 3 loss, while Green had four points in 20 minutes.

If Caruso or Green cannot play on Thursday, the Lakers may need to increase point guard Rajon Rondo‘s minutes.

Here’s more from across the Western Conference:

  • According to John Dickinson of 95.7 The Game (Twitter link), Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that center Kevon Looney is healthy and was a full participant at the team’s practice. Kerr added that Klay Thompson and Eric Paschall didn’t practice, as they were going through the NBA’s COVID testing protocol.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at the pros and cons of the Pelicans keeping Lonzo Ball. Earlier this week, Ball announced that he signed with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. The 22-year-old point guard had a solid first season with New Orleans, averaging 11.8 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 6.1 RPG. Furthermore, Guillory explores what a potential extension could like for Ball after next season.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes about the similarities between the 2013 Warriors and this season’s Nuggets team. For starters, Strauss points out how current Denver head coach Mike Malone was under then-head coach Mark Jackson in Golden State. He also explores how both teams built their rosters in the age of free agency and feature an unlikely superstar player.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Thompson, Harrell, Caruso

Swingman Jonathon Simmons is among the non-roster players joining the Warriors for their mini-camp, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Simmons joined the Warriors’ G League team in Santa Cruz in February after having played a combined 56 games with Orlando and Philadelphia in 2018/19. Zach Norvell, Jeremy Pargo, Ryan Taylor, and Roger Moute a Bidias are the other non-roster players participating in the mini-camp.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Klay Thompson will be able to practice without restrictions, but there are still some questions to be answered during the Warriors’ mini-camp, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. While reports have been encouraging, Thompson still has to show he can regain the form he had prior to tearing his ACL. Kevon Looney, who underwent core muscle injury in May, could also answer some questions about his health if he looks sharp on the court, Poole adds.
  • The Clippers probably won’t re-sign forward Montrezl Harrell unless it’s a sign-and-trade scenario, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. The likely contract demands of the league’s Sixth Man Award winner, coupled with his limitations and subpar playoff performances, make him a prime candidate for a sign-and-trade, Buha continues. The team will also look for an upgrade at point guard, though there won’t be a lot of attractive alternatives in free agency.
  • Guard Alex Caruso has become an essential role player for the Lakers and the stats prove it, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times notes. In Caruso’s 18.4 MPG during the regular season, the Lakers were 9.8 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents. During the postseason, the Lakers’ best defensive lineups have often been with Caruso on the court. He can become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

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.”