Warriors Expected to Part Ways With $22.5 Million Starter From Title Team

Kevon Looney, Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson, Warriors

Getty Kevon Looney #5, Klay Thompson #11, Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors look on from the bench.

The Golden State Warriors have a reputation of keeping past championship cores together, though it now appears likely they will part ways with a starter from the most recent title team.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic appeared on the Thursday, June 6 edition of the “Warriors Plus Minus” podcast, during which he reported that the Dubs will most likely release center Kevon Looney this offseason.

“I think the likeliest situation is that he’s cut, and he makes $3 million from [the Warriors], and he’s off looking for another spot — and there will be another spot for him in this league,” Kawakami said. “Teams are going to want him, again for a very low number, but they’re going to want him.”

Kawakami mentioned backup roles with both the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets or the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs as potential landing spots for Looney.

Trayce Jackson-Davis Has Made Kevon Looney Expendable to Warriors

Kevon Looney, Warriors

Getty Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors.

Looney is heading into the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million contract that is partially guaranteed, according to Bleacher Report. His salary cap hit will cost the Warriors $8 million in 2024-25, though the price will be exponentially more with luxury tax penalties if Golden State can’t get under the cap ceiling this offseason.

The money the team can save by cutting Looney loose, if it ultimately chooses to do so, represents one of several difficult personnel decisions the Dubs face as they attempt to rebuild a contender around Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in a more economical fashion.

Part of that effort includes several young contributors who are still playing on rookie deals. Among them is center Trayce Jackson-Davis, who played significantly during his initial pro season and took several starts away from Looney as the campaign rolled along.

Jackson-Davis, the No. 57 overall pick in the second round of the 2023 draft, ended up starting 16 games compared to 36 starts for Looney. However, the rookie averaged more minutes per game (16.6) across 68 contests played than his veteran counterpart, who averaged 16.1 minutes over 74 regular-season appearances.

Jackson-Davis averaged 7.9 points, 5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks, according to Basketball Reference, and was a bouncier and more effective interior defender than Looney. If the Warriors choose to move on from Looney, doing so represents a strong bet on Jackson-Davis and his ability to develop into a legitimate starting center in the league.

Klay Thompson, Chris Paul May Also Depart Golden State This Summer

Warriors impending free agent Klay Thompson

GettyKlay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Another strong bet is that the Warriors decide to release backup point guard Chris Paul ahead of June 28, as doing so will wipe $30 million off of their books and go a long way toward getting out of the luxury tax. The team could then try to re-sign Paul in free agency at a vastly reduced salary, but would face strong competition for his services.

Golden State’s bill in 2024-25 will undoubtedly come down due to Klay Thompson’s impending entrance into unrestricted free agency. Thompson made more than $43 million last season, a figure that the Dubs will probably slash by at least half, assuming he is back in the Bay Area at all.

The off-ball guard was still a quality shooter and floor spacer, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting nearly 39% from behind the 3-point line. Thompson’s beloved status in Golden State, as well as his past achievements, could buy him a little more understanding and money from the front office this summer.

But there will be a point somewhere on the salary scale at which each extra dollar for Thompson represents a decrease in his value to the franchise. Not to mention, the Warriors will likely have to bid against several other teams for Thompson and could find themselves priced out.

The Dubs would undoubtedly like to trade the final three years of Andrew Wiggins$109 million contract, though doing so might actually cost the Warriors a trade asset simply to get another organization to take on the deal. Wiggins and Thompson were both starters alongside Looney during Golden State’s last run to a championship in 2022.

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