3 Centers on Warriors’ Radar Amid Kevon Looney’s Decreasing Minutes

Kevon Looney, Warriors

Getty Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors stands for the national anthem before their game against the Miami Heat at Chase Center.

The writing’s on the wall for former Golden State Warriors starting center Kevon Looney.

The 27-year-old big man played a measly five minutes in the Warriors’ 145-144 double overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on January 27. He hasn’t played for more than 18 minutes since Draymond Green returned from his suspension.

According to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors have been shopping around for a big man.

“Kevon Looney is having a down season and is currently watching his minutes disappear after Green’s return. The Warriors have explored the center market,” Slater wrote on January 30.

Looney is averaging 5.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in just 19.8 minutes per game this season. Those numbers have dropped drastically to 2.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 10.5 minutes over his last three games.

Slater listed three centers that could replace Looney.

“Could Wendell Carter Jr. be obtained from the Orlando Magic? Atlanta’s Clint Capela is reportedly available. Is Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton worth the price it’d take to get him and whatever contract he’d command in free agency this summer?

These aren’t names or moves that’d immediately vault the Warriors back into the title conversation. But they have a roster in need of some reshuffling over the next six months and, often in the modern NBA, offseason work begins at the trade deadline, especially once the prices drop as the buzzer nears,” Slater wrote.

Kevon Looney’s Fall From Grace

Looney’s fall from the starting lineup is so sudden after enjoying a career year last season.

His numbers — 7.0 points on 63% shooting, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists — last season were all career highs. He was the Warriors’ Iron Man over the last two seasons, playing all 82 regular-season games.

But this season, Looney became the victim of the Warriors’ roster crunch and coach Steve Kerr’s endless search for the best combination that could turn their season around.

Dario Saric, a floor-spacing big man who could exit in the offseason for a bigger contract like Donte DiVincenzo, has firmly entrenched himself in the second unit. Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, a savvy pick-and-roll center, played one minute more than Looney in their last game.

Slater predicts that Looney will likely be included in a trade for a big man.

“Only $3 million of his $8 million contract is guaranteed next season. I could see him being the outgoing salary in a smaller deal, especially if it is for an inbound center,” Slater wrote.

Breaking up Warriors Dynasty Core Is up to Stephen Curry

The 30th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Looney is a homegrown talent they developed into a starting-caliber center. He was part of the Warriors’ three of their four championship runs.

Trading him away would mean breaking up the longtime veteran core around franchise superstar Stephen Curry.

ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne reported that the Warriors’ trade deadline moves involving his veteran supporting cast would need Curry’s approval.

“They’re not going to make any moves to that core and break up that dynastic team unless [Curry’s] on board with that idea,” Shelburne said on the NBA Today on January 29.





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