Warriors Rumors: 'Growing Pessimism' from Teams That Kevon Looney Will Leave in FA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

BOSTON, MA  - JUNE 07: Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors shoots during 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability on June 7, 2022  at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevon Looney has spent his entire NBA career with the Golden State Warriors, and that might remain the case with the veteran center approaching free agency this offseason.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Monday that interested suitors are sharing a "growing pessimism" about the likelihood of Looney leaving the Bay Area.

"Looney is increasingly expected to re-sign with the Warriors on a multiyear deal after playing a vital role in their fourth title run in a span of eight seasons," per Stein.

On June 18, Stein reported the Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings were emerging as teams that could pursue Looney this summer.

The veteran defender is coming off a three-year, $14.5 million contract. Based on the value he has provided Golden State in the regular season and playoffs, his annual earnings should climb with his next deal.

Looney averaged 6.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 21.1 minutes per game. He also held opponents to 57.6 percent shooting inside six feet, 6.1 percent worse than their typical average, per NBA.com.

The 26-year-old also appeared in all 104 of Golden State's contests across the regular season and playoffs.

Following the team's NBA Finals triumph, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers both signaled a preference to keep Looney around:

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater

Steve Kerr on Kevon Looney: “We’re all rooting for him personally to get a really good contract. Hopefully it’s from us.” <a href="https://t.co/M8YCvKpzdT">pic.twitter.com/M8YCvKpzdT</a>

95.7 The Game @957thegame

Bob Myers on Kevon Looney and Warriors' crop of free agents: <br><br>"We're gonna try our best to bring him back and all those guys back."

Beyond the fact that Looney is almost the perfect center for the Warriors' system, replacing him would not be easy.

Leaning on James Wiseman as the starter would be far too risky after he has missed a season-and-a-half with a right knee injury. If the team isn't sold on Wiseman, then Myers would have to go bargain-hunting in free agency because Golden State has almost no salary-cap space for outside additions.

Maybe another franchise would be willing to pay Looney well above his likely asking price. In the absence of that, it's difficult to see him spurning the Warriors.