Kevon Looney

Warriors could eclipse $260 million in spending next season

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Kevin Durant is reportedly willing to accept less than a max contract next season.

That, ironically, could get very expensive for the Warriors.

Golden State would need to clear cap space to pay Durant his max – the system working as intended to limit spending. But if Durant takes less than his max, the Warriors could operate as an over-the-cap team, sign players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston with Bird Exceptions and spend into the stratosphere.

Just how high could Golden State’s payroll get next season? Let’s make a few assumptions:

  • The luxury-tax line is the projected $121 million
  • Durant opts out and re-signs for the Non-Bird Exception ($31,848,120 starting salary)
  • Stephen Curry re-signs on a designated-veteran-player contract (more than $35 million projected starting salary)
  • Iguodala re-signs for a starting salary of $18 million
  • Livingston re-signs for a starting salary of $9 million
  • Zaza Pachulia re-signs for the full Non-Bird Exception ($3,477,600 starting salary)
  • Ian Clark re-signs for the full Early Bird Exception (about $6.5 million projected starting salary)
  • David West re-signs for the full Non-Bird Exception ($2,794,382 starting salary)
  • JaVale McGee re-signs for the full Non-Bird Exception ($2,540,346 starting salary)
  • Golden State keeps its players already under contract (Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Damian Jones and Patrick McCaw)
  • The Warriors use the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,192,000 starting salary)
  • Golden State rounds out its roster with a minimum-salary player

That’d give the Warriors a payroll of about $155 million and a luxury-tax bill about $106 million – a total of about $261 million.

For perspective, the Cavaliers are in line to spend about $151 million this season, about $127 million on salaries and about $25 million in luxury tax (rounding explains the seemingly incorrect math).

Now, this is obviously a rough projection, and the Warriors won’t be forced to spend so much. Maybe Golden State re-signs Iguodala or Livingston for less or lets one walk. I doubt the Warriors use the full taxpayer mid-level exception, especially if they keep both Iguodala and Livingston. Golden State might also view Clark as more of a luxury than it could afford. Pachulia and McGee could seek more elsewhere and be replaced by minimum-salary players.

But if Durant is taking a discount, it’s not to save Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber money. It’s to help his team win. Durant shouldn’t take less unless the owners commit not to scrimp around the edges – and that could lead to a monstrous payroll.

Warriors beat Clippers 133-120 for 9th straight win over LA (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Stephen Curry scored 29 points despite making just three 3-pointers, Kevin Durant added 26 points and 10 assists, and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 133-120 for their fifth straight victory on Thursday night.

Blake Griffin had 31 points, making 11 of 13 free throws, for the Clippers. They have lost nine in a row to their Bay Area opponents, the franchise’s longest active skid against a single team.

The rematch wasn’t the debacle that occurred last weekend when the Clippers lost by 46 points at Golden State.

But they still never led and trailed by 21. The Clippers got beat in every category despite Griffin’s hard-charging effort. The Warriors were dominant in the paint, on second-chance points and fast break points.

Golden State has won 11 of its last 12.

The Clippers got within seven on a 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford with 1:55 remaining in the game. But Durant answered with a 3-pointer and Klay Thompson added another.

The Clippers’ defense was no match for Curry. He slipped through the lane for a fastbreak layup with Raymond Felton dogging him on the left and DeAndre Jordan on the right. Curry fell down scoring, drawing the foul and completing the three-point play that kept the Warriors ahead by 15 in the third quarter.

The Warriors toyed with the Clippers, who got within four points in the first quarter and then five in the second quarter, only to have Golden State immediately push the lead back to double digits.

Golden State barreled around the court, knocking down former Warrior Marreese Speights and J.J. Redick in one fell swoop after Durant pushed Austin Rivers on another possession. It was all part of a rollicking first half when the Warriors bobbed, weaved and whipped circus-like passes around before scoring.

The Clippers gave up three dunks and had four turnovers to start the game. Curry forced two steals, feeding Durant and JaVale McGee for consecutive dunks that stunned the Clippers.

Los Angeles outshot Golden State in the first quarter when the Warriors took nearly twice as many shots as the Clippers.

MAKING HISTORY

Curry hit his 200th 3-pointer of the season with 2 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter, making him the first player in NBA history to have 200 or more 3-pointers in five consecutive seasons. He missed his first four 3-pointers in the game. Curry came into the game 4 of 28 from 3-point range in three previous games at Staples Center this season.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Griffin’s windmill dunk over Warriors forward Kevon Looney drew oohs from the crowd and merited multiple replays on the video board. He took one large step through the lane and pushed his left hand off the head of a ducking Looney as Griffin elevated before slamming the ball down with his right hand.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry had 11 assists. … McGee and James Michael McAdoo each finished 5 of 6 from the field. They were among seven Warriors in double figures. … Curry got a technical for smacking the ball out of bounds in the second quarter. … They have reached 100 points in each of the last 26 games. … They were missing starting forward Draymond Green, who has a left shoulder contusion.

Clippers: Griffin passed Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo to move into second on the franchise scoring list. … Los Angeles is 2-5 in its last seven without injured Chris Paul. … Jordan will participate in the slam dunk competition on Feb. 18 during All-Star weekend in New Orleans against Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, Phoenix’s Derrick Jones Jr. and Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III. Jordan leads the league with 152 dunks this season.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Visit Sacramento on Saturday, a team they beat by 11 points last month.

Clippers: Visit Boston on Sunday to start their annual five-game Grammy road trip.

Klay Thompson sparks Warriors’ rally in 4th to beat Wolves

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 30 points and the Golden State Warriors roared back to avoid their first set of consecutive regular-season losses since 2015 with a 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

Stephen Curry had 22 points and nine assists, and the Warriors extended their NBA-record streak to 111 regular-season games without losing two in a row. They trailed by 10 to start the fourth quarter, but opened the period with a 25-4 avalanche to turn the tide.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 points and 18 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 25 for the Timberwolves (6-18), who lost their fourth straight game.

Kevin Durant had 22 points on 6-for-21 shooting, and Draymond Green scored 18 for Golden State while going 5 of 8 on 3-pointers.

Zach LaVine scored 25 points and hit five 3s for the Wolves.

The Warriors were coming off a 21-point loss Saturday to the Grizzlies and were playing their fourth game in five nights, and it was clear from the start that they were a little weary.

Just when Curry appeared to be heating up, hitting back-to-back 3s midway through the third quarter, the best shooter on the planet tossed up an airball on the very next possession. Between that ghastly miss and Durant missing a wide-open layup, it was clear the Warriors were just a bit off for the second night in a row, something that hasn’t happened in the regular season since April 7, 2015.

The Wolves closed the third period with a 14-1 run, but Thompson scored 12 points in the first 5 minutes of the fourth to rally Golden State.

RECORD STREAK

The Warriors lost three straight games to Cleveland in the NBA Finals in June, but remain proud of surviving the gauntlet of the regular season the way they have. The streak is 16 games longer than the second-place Utah Jazz, who went 95 straight from 1997-99.

“It’s one of the most impressive streaks that I can think of in my experience in the NBA,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry passed Steve Nash for 17th on the career list for 3-pointers. … Durant started the game 3 for 17, but was 3 for 5 in the fourth. … C Zaza Pachulia was out again with sprained right wrist. … Kevon Looney started at center despite being listed as questionable with a sprained right ankle.

Timberwolves: Minnesota outrebounded Golden State 51-37. … F Nemanja Bjelica missed his second straight game with a sore right ankle.

REUNITED

Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau has been friends with Warriors assistant Ron Adams for more than two decades. Adams worked under Thibodeau in Chicago, and the Wolves coach said that when he got the job in Minnesota this summer he called Adams and “begged him” to leave Golden State and join him.

“They have such a great organization that I knew it was kind of tongue-in-cheek,” Thibodeau said. “I know how happy he is with the situation that he’s in.”

 

Warriors’ Kevon Looney on schedule to return by training camp

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During the Warriors’ 73-win season, rookie Kevon Looney appeared in just five games. Since last summer, he has undergone surgeries on both of his hips, causing him to miss the postseason as well as Summer League. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Looney is expected to be ready to go in time for training camp.

Less than five months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum on his left hip, Looney is on track to return for the start of training camp Sept. 27. The preseason will be his audition to crack the rotation.

I’m really eager,” Looney said. “I’ve been watching, running and doing drills now for what feels like two years. To be able to get on the court and actually be healthy, I’m really excited for that.”

Looney won’t get a ton of minutes, but the Warriors lost several depth pieces (including Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa and Brandon Rush) as part of the tradeoff for signing Kevin Durant, so if they can get something out of their young players like Looney, that would be helpful.

Report: Warriors renouncing Festus Ezeli to clear room for Kevin Durant

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The Warriors need enough cap space to sign Kevin Durantthis summer and next.

That likely means trading Andrew Bogut. Clearing his salary and renouncing all its free agents would give Golden State room for Durant’s max contract.

But the Warriors needn’t necessarily drop all their own free agents. They could trade Shaun Livingston instead of renouncing Festus Ezeli, whose low cap hold and Bird Rights give Golden State plenty of flexibility. Ezeli could then step in for Bogut as starting center.

But the Warriors aren’t going that route.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Does this mean Golden State will trade Andre Iguodala instead of Bogut? I doubt it. Shedding Iguodala’s salary won’t quite create max cap room for Durant like dropping Bogut’s would, so Kevon Looney or Damian Jones would also have to be moved. Plus, Iguodala just seems to be on more favorable terms with the team than Bogut.

So, the Warriors will need to find a starting center on the cheap, the $2,898,000 room exception their primary weapon.

There are more decent centers on the market than teams that need one, so perhaps someone takes a one-year deal to boost his value and re-enter the market in 2017. Anyone would look good with Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson playing behind him.

Zaza Pachulia? Nene? Roy Hibbert?

That might be aiming too high, but here’s an even bigger name available: Pau Gasol. He’d have to take a big discount, but the Warriors reportedly like him, and he’d start for the championship favorite. That might appeal to him more than a big payday.

Golden State will probably settle for a lesser player, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is already lined up. Otherwise, why commit to Livingston over Ezeli so quickly? A starting center is more important than a backup point guard.