Kevon Looney

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DeMarcus Cousins is still available, switches agents in effort to get signed

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The center position is one NBA teams believe they can fill without spending too much money now. Sure, if you have a Joel Embiid or Rudy Gobert or Nikola Jokic at the five teams will back up the Brinks truck, but the Warriors brought back Kevon Looney at $5 million a season, and more and more it’s a position where teams are reluctant to pay big money without knowing they have an elite player at the position.

DeMarcus Cousins was once that elite player. However, after an Achilles tear that seemed to slow him when he did return last season, then a quad tear during the playoffs, not to mention some teams being scared off by his reputation as a locker room challenge (fair or not), there has not been much of a market for Cousins. Players such as Dewayne Dedmon (two years, $25 million) and Robin Lopez ($4.8 million) have found homes, and Cousins still waits.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN put it this way on the network’s air Tuesday:

“There’s not a market for him. I think he hoped that some big market teams would strikeout, they’d have cap space and he could get a one-year, $12 (million), $15 (million), $18 (million), $20 million deal. That’s not happening. The mid-level exception he got in Golden State last year? I don’t think that’s there.”

Trying to shake things up, Cousins is switching agents, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Once the Kawhi Leonard decision comes down there will be teams with some cap space to spend, but that may not help Cousins market much.

The Warriors brought back Looney and then signed Willie Cauley-Stein on Tuesday, ending the idea Cousins could return to the Bay Area. Celtics’ and Knicks’ rumors floated around, but neither team has yet made a move.

Cousins averaged 16.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game for Warriors in the 30 games he played last season after coming back from his Achilles tear. He did so playing with good offensive efficiency, but he did not move terribly well (to be expected, considering the injury) and struggled when teams forced him to defend in space.

Cousins could be forced to take a minimum contract somewhere, or maybe a little more at best (there are rumors he would consider that with the Lakers if Kawhi Leonard goes there). If that happens, he will do it on a one-year contract hoping to find more suitors next summer in what will be more of a down free agent class.

Report: Willie Cauley-Stein agrees to contract with Golden State

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Willie Cauley-Stein wanted out of Sacramento so he could prove he was more than a rim runner, that he could pop out and shoot (a skill he did not show with the Kings), taking what the defense gives him. He wants to prove he’s a center that fits in the modern NBA.

Golden State is going to give him that chance.

Cauley-Stein is headed to the Warriors according to multiple reports, with Marcus Thompson of The Athletic being first.

Cauley-Stein will back up Kevon Looney at center in Golden State, when they don’t play small and put Draymond Green at the five.

Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds a game last season for the Kings, shooting 55.6 percent overall but no better than 35 percent from the floor anywhere outside the restricted area. He wanted a chance in a new environment, now we’ll see what they athletic center out of Kentucky can do with that opportunity.

Warriors reportedly keep ‘foundational piece’ Kevon Looney on three-year, $15 million deal

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“[Kevon] Looney has become one of our foundational pieces.”

That was Steve Kerr on the night Kevon Looney had 12 points and 14 rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 4 Western Conference Finals win over the Trail Blazers. Kerr went on to say multiple times through the Finals how much he wanted Looney back — and it was obvious why, when Looney was at the five the Warriors offense just flowed better (much smoother than when DeMarcus Cousins was in).

Kerr got his guy, and the Warriors got a good deal. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

Houston was among several teams that had reached out to Looney, but the Warriors always planned to bring him back if at all possible.

The trade earlier today that sent Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham from the Warriors to the Timberwolves helped free up space for the Warriors to make this happen (remember they are hard capped at $138 million).

Looney moved into the Warriors starting center role by the end of last season, and in the playoffs he averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. In the Finals, he tried to play through a fractured collar bone to help the Warriors, but the walking wounded — and an outstanding Raptors team — was just too much for them.

This is a win for the Warriors, who will take a step back next season with all the injuries and changes, but will not be bad. At all.

Whatever is next for the Golden State Warriors, it’s going to be very different

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OAKLAND — It was more than 90 minutes after the NBA Finals had ended, after the Toronto Raptors had beaten the Golden State Warriors four times in six tries.

The fans had left. First, the dispirited Warriors fans who didn’t believe this is how the final game at Oracle Arena would end. Next, the Raptors fans, loud and celebrating like first-time champions should, taking their party out into the city. The stage where Adam Silver had handed Kawhi Leonard his latest Finals MVP trophy had been taken down and put away. The only people left in the building were media members, ushers taking one last look around the arena, and some champagne-drenched players.

Stephen Curry was there and joined his family and friends up in the seats behind one of the baskets for one last photo, some remembrances, one last chance to soak in Oracle Arena.

Because It’s never going to be the same for these Warriors.

Not just because of the new building that takes them out of Oakland and drops them in the heart of San Francisco.

Whatever the Warriors look like next season, it won’t be the same as the team they believed would win them an NBA championship this past season.

Next season may look a lot more like the lineup the Warriors had on the floor at the end of Game 6 — no Kevin Durant and no Klay Thompson, both recovering from injuries, and a group of inexperienced and/or inexpensive players around Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

What the Warriors will look like in two years is anybody’s guess.

But it will not be the same.

Kevin Durant is a free agent this summer and all season long it has been assumed in league circles he was gone from the Bay Area. Maybe headed to New York, possibly to be a Clipper in Los Angeles, but he was going to bolt town. Now, however, with a torn Achilles that will sideline him most if not all of next season, did his mindset change? Will he want to sign a shorter contract and rehab with a franchise where he knows the staff, knows the trainers, knows the players and is comfortable? Or does he still want out? Durant himself, still trying to process the emotions of this career-changing injury, may not know the answer. That said, the buzz is that he still leaves.

If he leaves, the Warriors are still over the cap and can’t just replace him. Those new Warriors will look more like the 2015 edition, just older.

Klay Thompson is a free agent as well, and he also will likely miss all of next season recovering from a torn left ACL. While he will also have suitors from coast to coast, nobody around the NBA seriously thought Thompson was leaving as long as he got a max contract. He will still get that, and Thompson’s father Mychael said on Friday his son will stay in Golden State.

DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent and the most the Warriors can offer him under the terms of the CBA is $6.4 million. There’s a good chance another team will come in higher than that despite Cousins’ injury history (after said team strikes out with other free agents and gets a little desperate). Cousins will just have trouble getting the number of years he wants.

Kevon Looney free agent and while Steve Kerr called Looney a foundational part of their future, it will be very expensive to keep the young big man after his strong performance in these playoffs. Other teams are targeting him.

Shaun Livingston is mulling retirement. Andrew Bogut is headed back to Australia.

Draymond Green’s contract can be extended, although with the Warriors cap situation it is more likely he becomes a free agent in 2020 and re-signs with the team, an extension would be a paycut.

Around all that, the Warriors need to find a way to get younger, get more athletic, get role players who can eat up a lot of minutes and take some of the load off Curry, Green, Andre Iguodala and the rest.

It’s a lot on GM Bob Myers plate — and the price tag is high. Very high.

Golden State’s co-owner (or whatever term you wish) Joe Lacob has said he would offer both Thompson and Durant the max, and he was willing to pay the tax to keep the band together. That sounds good, but bring everyone back and this team’s combined payroll and luxury tax will push $350 million. An NBA record. Yes, the Warriors are in the black. Yes, their new Chase Center building (owned by Lacob and company) basically prints money. That’s still a massive tax bill, and how many billionaires do you know of happy to pay taxes?

And that tax bill is a team that might not make the playoffs next year and certainly will not be a title contender with Thompson and Durant out (if KD even stays).

That’s why there’s a lot of speculation around the league that if Durant stays the Warriors may try to trade Iguodala and even Green, just to save some money, both next season and down the line. Green will be up for a max in 2020 and do the Warriors want to give him five years and north of $195 million?

There are a lot of questions, ones we will learn the answers to in the coming weeks. The one thing we do know?

That doesn’t mean the Warriors should be counted out.

“But our DNA and who we are and the character that we have on this team, I wouldn’t bet against us being back on this stage next year and going forward,” Curry said.

“I think everybody thinks it’s kind of the end of us. But that’s just not smart,” Green said. “We’re not done yet. We lost this year. Clearly just wasn’t our year, but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, it’s the end of a run and all that jazz. I don’t see it happening though. We’ll be back.”

They may well be back in 2020.

But it’s going to be the same.

Warriors confirm Klay Thompson tears ACL

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The Warriors already had enough players bolstering their legacies by playing through injury in these NBA Finals – a terrible price to pay. Kevin Durant already did it. Klay Thompson already did it.

Now, Thompson has done it again.

Thompson was “Game 6 Klay” at his finest Thursday. He scored 30 points on 12 shots and played smothering defense. At +5, he was the only Golden State starter with a positive plus-minus.

But he left the Warriors’ season-ending Game 6 loss in the third quarter – though not before attempting two free throws, allowing him to remain eligible for a return to the game. It was immediately clear those free throws (both made, of course) were darn impressive.

They should be even more appreciated now.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Warriors later confirmed that report:

Chris Ballard:

Durant will reportedly miss next season in its entirety. Thompson will miss a bulk of the season. We still don’t know the lasting damage to Kevon Looney, who played through a broken collarbone.

By the way, all three are headed toward free agency this summer.

It’s tough enough to lose in the Finals. The Warriors are in tatters.

One devastating injury after another have Golden State’s training staff and entire management facing scrutiny. Do they take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries? Do they rush back players too quickly from injuries? There should be serious introspection this offseason.

It might be too late, not only for this year – but maybe next year. Even if Thompson and Durant re-sign, a potential championship contender will be at a major talent loss for a while. Maybe the Warriors can get a disabled-player exception or two (projected to be worth about $9 million each and granted if an NBA-appointed doctor rules the player is “substantially more likely than not” to remain out through June 15, 2020). But signing replacements could be quite costly considering the luxury-tax ramifications, as everyone under contract counts.

On the other hand, after all the players put themselves through this postseason, doesn’t Golden State ownership owe them spending whatever possible to win next year?