Kevon Looney has had an excellent postseason for the Golden State Warriors, and head coach Steve Kerr has noticed.
"I said this the other day, he's one of our cornerstones now. Going forward, I expect him to be one of our mainstays over the coming years. I hope his next contract reflects that.
"I'd love to see him get a long-term deal that pays him what he deserves because he's a hell of a basketball player and he's earned everything. We're going to rely on him in the Finals and, hopefully, for many years to come."
Looney, 23, has averaged 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game this postseason.
He's come up big for the Warriors without DeMarcus Cousins or Kevin Durant in the lineup, especially in the Western Conference Finals. He averaged 10.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 block per game—and shot a ridiculous 77.8 percent from the field—in Golden State's sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.
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Looney will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, likely joining Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins in that regard. It's a summer of uncertainty for the Warriors, though the team will be able to go over the cap to re-sign Looney since they hold his Bird rights.
If Durant and Cousins bolt—which remains a major possibility, if not probability—keeping a player like Looney becomes all the more important. The young center has shown his value to the Warriors this postseason, especially in the five games Durant has missed, though Looney himself was quick to point out that winning a title this year without Durant would be a major challenge.
"Without having KD, it's going to be tough," he said. "But we're a resilient team and we're good at figuring out ways to counter that and play without him. We've won big games before, but the Finals are different."
Indeed they are, and the Raptors are a veteran bunch that plays suffocating defense and features Kawhi Leonard, who has arguably been the most dominant player this postseason. If the Warriors are going to make it three straight titles and four in five years, they'll need a big showing from Looney as he gets set to clash with Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and possibly Pascal Siakam.