Warriors Make Firm Decision on Cutting Beloved Veteran: Report

Certainly, for a team eager to dodge the NBA’s luxury tax, or at least sweep itself under the tax’s dreaded aprons, every million bucks counts. That was the logic behind the Warriors’ projected approach on center Kevon Looney, the popular and low-key veteran center who has spent his entire nine-year career in Golden State. Looney is owed $8 million on his contract, but only $3 million is guaranteed.

Logic would dictate that, after Looney went from a starter in the first half of the season to a bench player who appeared in 32 of the final 40 games for only 10.9 minutes per game, the Warriors were set to pass on guaranteeing his deal and instead would send him to free agency.

But at The Athletic, beat reporter Anthony Slater writes that is not, in fact, the case: The Dubs instead will keep Looney at $8 million, though perhaps include his contract in a trade. Considering it is an expiring deal, there is value in keeping Looney on the books, since he could help the Warriors match up salaries should a deal present itself in the coming weeks.

Kevon Looney on Shaky Ground

Slater did intimate that Looney’s time with the Warriors has been on shaky ground. That, in itself, is a bit of a surprise, since Looney is only 28 and is a favorite of the staff and front office. Many credit Looney’s presence in the middle in the 2022 playoffs as being a key to the Warriors’ championship that year, and coach Steve Kerr and others credit Looney with helping keep the team together in 2023, after the notorious Draymond Green punch on then-teammate Jordan Poole.

Looney is a kind of cool-headed counterbalance to Green’s hotheaded nature. The Warriors appreciate that.

“It appears that his tenure will continue into next week,” Slater wrote of Looney. :Only $3 million of Looney’s $8 million is currently guaranteed for next season. The other $5 million guarantees on Monday, presenting the possibility he could be released.

“But that isn’t the Warriors’ current plan, according to league sources. They are expected to let the rest of Looney’s $8 million contract guarantee, keeping him in their current plans, though it does remain possible they eventually use his salary to help complete an offseason trade.”

Warriors Better Off Keeping $8 Million Contract

The fact is that, even if they dumped Looney, there would still be $3 million on the books for him and, in a double-whammy, the Warriors would need to go out and sign another center to replace him and ensure that sophomore Trayce Jackson-Davis would have a backup.

That would cost the Warriors just under $3 million. So if they cut Looney and replace him at the minimum, they’re paying out $6 million. For $2 million more, they can just keep Looney in place.

Or trade him. The Warriors are very active on the trade market and could look to move several players—Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins—over the coming weeks with the dual goal of reducing payroll to get under the luxury tax and reconfiguring the roster to be more competitive in 2024-25.

There’s a chance that Looney could survive all that and stay put. That would make Kerr happy, no doubt. Speaking about Looney after moving him to the bench, Kerr was clearly struggling.

“I don’t think Loon has a bigger fan than me,” Kerr said, per USA Today’s Warriors Wire. “So this has been a hard thing for me to go away from. … He’s my guy and doesn’t mean he’s not going to make an impact. I still think he will, but you know, things have turned away from him for the time being.”


Like Heavy.com’s content? Be sure to follow us.

This article was originally published on Heavy.com

The post Warriors Make Firm Decision on Cutting Beloved Veteran: Report appeared first on Heavy.com.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *