Exclusive: Lakers Could Land Championship Starter, Says NBA Exec

Warriors Rumors

Getty Kevon Looney (left) is a potential fit for the Lakers in free agency.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a number of superstars but face an uphill battle to add anything more than role players this offseason given their salary cap constraints. One potential Lakers target is Warriors starting center Kevon Looney who would fit well next to Anthony Davis if the big man wants to play more of his preferred role of power forward.

During his conversations around the league, Heavy’s NBA insider Sean Deveney has heard some buzz that the Lakers are viewed as a potential fit for Looney. One Western Conference executive labeled the Lakers as the “best situation” for Looney if the Warriors opt to move on from the veteran in favor of giving James Wiseman a more prominent role during the 2022-23 season.

“The best situation for the Lakers is Looney, if the Warriors decide they’re giving that job to (James) Wiseman no matter what, then they’re going to have to let Looney walk,” the NBA exec explained. “The market for Looney is not going to be outrageous because there are a lot of centers out there and he is very limited on the offensive end.

“But he is a really good role player to have alongside Anthony Davis, where he knows when to get in and fill the lane and when to back off. He can protect the rim– he is a lot like JaVale McGee was for them, and McGee did such a good job of filling the gaps around AD and LeBron. If Looney can’t get the big payday this year, he’s a UCLA guy and playing well for the Lakers can get him some notice until 2023, there will be a lot more money out there.”

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Looney Is a 3-Time NBA Champion

Looney was often overshadowed this season by the Warriors stars but played a critical role during the team’s title run. The Golden State center averaged six points, 7.3 rebounds and two assists during his 21.1 minutes per game.

Looney is a three-time NBA champion who played well during the 2022 NBA finals with the highest plus-minus of any Warriors player at eight. The big man posted five points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as Golden State topped Boston for the championship.


Looney Will Likely Need to Take Less Money to Stay With the Warriors

Golden State is well beyond the salary cap making it challenging for the front office to retain Looney, especially with former No. 2 pick Wiseman waiting for his opportunity. With several potential suitors, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Looney will likely need to take less money if he wants to remain with the Warriors. This opens the door for the Lakers to have a chance at the center, potentially using their exception to sign the big man.

“Not long after we had written about the free-agent interest Golden State’s Kevon Looney was already generating from Charlotte and Sacramento, Looney was conducting his final media session of the season with Bay Area reporters and sharing what the Warriors surely wanted to hear,” Stein detailed on June 20. “‘I always want to be back here,’ Looney said. ‘I want to come back and try to defend what we just won and be a part of something special again.'”

“Doing so might require Looney to take less than he could get if he opted to sign with the highest bidder this summer; Golden State’s combined salary and luxury-tax bill is expected to zoom past $400 million if the newly crowned champs can successfully re-sign Looney and Gary Payton II (and maybe even Otto Porter Jr.).”

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