Storyline: Kevon Looney Free Agency

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Looney wanted to entertain other more lucrative offers with teams that could offer a larger role. Though he also fielded interest from the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks, Looney found it more appealing to stay with the Warriors because of his ongoing development and the team’s recent championship success. Looney has also set himself up for potentially another breakout season that could yield more offseason interest next summer.

After the Championship Parade in Oakland on Tuesday, Looney joined Chris Townsend, Matt Steinmetz and Daryle “The Guru” Johnson on 95.7 The Game to discuss how he’s approaching his first crack at free agency. “I mean, this is my first time experiencing it, so I’m just trying to listen to people around me,” Looney said on 95.7 The Game. “I’ve got some great vets on this team to talk to that have been through this situation that I’m going to lean on and my agents and stuff like that and do what’s best for me.”

That’s where the complications reside. Under league rules, the Warriors can’t offer Looney more than a starting salary of $2.3 million this offseason. He’s unrestricted. If he keeps playing like this, if he keeps impacting the game on the season’s biggest stage, someone may toss an offer at him he can’t refuse, especially if they’re aware of this fact: at 22, he’s still the youngest player on the Warriors roster. “It could be that you don’t pick up the option, he phones it in, everybody’s upset,” Myers said. “But in these situations, you’d rather be proved wrong, right? Because the way he’s playing right now, he’s helping us win playoff games. I’ll take that any day.”

“There’s not a lot of money on this market. You weigh the options. If it’s one of those situations where you’re going to a bad team for a couple extra dollars, maybe you don’t want to do that. But he’s earned himself the right to weigh his options.” Said Looney: “My agent brings it up sometimes, tells me the free-agent market changes every year. The money’s not always the same. He talks about this summer might be a slow summer money-wise. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the summer, but I’m prepared for everything.”

The Warriors have to evaluate if third-year forward Kevon Looney (unrestricted free agent) … [is] worth developing at the pace they would like and worth the price to counteract any possible outside interest. “They always tell me if somebody comes and gives me a better offer, you should take it. But this is a team where it’s all about winning,” Looney said. “I’d love to be here and be a part of this. It’s something to think about, for sure.”

The Warriors decided to pick up the option of second-year center Damian Jones and elected not to do the same for Looney because of what amounted to a numbers game. Looney’s option, which was worth about $2.2 million, would have put the team further into the luxury tax for next season. That meant they had to choose between the two big men, making Looney the odd man out. “I mean I wasn’t shocked,” Looney said of the decision. “I kind of knew going into it what was going to happen. I wasn’t surprised.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
January 21, 2019 | 11:45 am EST Update
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has assigned forward Dwayne Bacon and guard Devonte’ Graham to the Greensboro Swarm, the team’s NBA G League affiliate. Dwayne Bacon has appeared in 23 games averaging 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 10.6 minutes per game in his second season with the Charlotte Hornets. Bacon was selected 40th overall in 2017 NBA Draft by New Orleans and acquired by Charlotte, along with cash considerations, in exchange for Frank Jackson (31st overall) on draft night. The assignment to the Greensboro Swarm will mark the eighth of the 2018-19 G League season for Dwayne Bacon. He has appeared in seven games for the Swarm, averaging 20.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.1 minutes per game.
According to Kanter, his absence from two games earlier this month was the result of a stomach bug, not overeating. Last week, the center posted a picture of himself getting ready to chow down on 13 burgers on his ‘cheat day.’ He missed practice the following day and then the next two games, on Jan. 11 and 13. “It was not burgers, man. Although I ate a lot of burgers that night. It was flu, it was definitely flu,” Kanter said. “Because we just came back from a long road trip and we landed 7-something AM and I only slept like one hour. And of course, it’s New York, it’s pretty cold. So I had the flu.”
Enes Kanter has spent years – and most of last week – speaking on the injustices in his home country of Turkey. On Monday, he’ll be playing on MLK Day and honoring America’s most famous civil rights leader. The meaning isn’t lost on Kanter. “Of course man, it means a lot. Everybody, whoever fights for freedom, if you’re fighting for democracy or human rights. It shows a lot,” said the NBA’s most politically-charged player. “So it will definitely be a blessing to have that day and play that day. So it will be an honor to go out there and wear this (Martin Luther King Jr.) t-shirt and play because he fought for something very important.”
January 21, 2019 | 7:12 am EST Update
Thompson stands to make $18.5 million next season. That’s a big number to take on, even if it’s only for one year, because of the 2019 free-agent sweepstakes so many teams want to have salary-cap space for. Unless Thompson puts a team over the top, then it would probably make more sense for a team to trade for him next season. The Cavs want him around to shepherd younger players through the early stages of this rebuild. They’ll probably be able to get better assets in return for him at next year’s trade deadline. There’s also a chance the Cavs want Thompson long term, and could, therefore, keep him and offer him an extension over the summer. What he thinks: “Blake Griffin got traded. At the end of the day, if the trade is right and the pieces are guys they feel can help the franchise moving forward, I’m totally understanding. It’s a business. If you don’t have a no-trade clause, anything can happen.”
Storyline: Tristan Thompson Trade?
In chasing Davis, the Lakers may need a push from his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also represents James. “I’d say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics’ package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third,” the former executive said. “One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston’s picks].”