David West

Kevin Durant is returning, but what about six other Warriors free agents?

Kevin Durant is returning, but what about six other Warriors free agents?

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant will be back with the Warriors next season because it’s what he wants and because he’s man enough to dismiss the tone-deaf “humor” tossed his way before the championship parade on Tuesday.

Growing up where he grew up, and how he grew up, Durant has heard much worse.

He’s the surest of seven free agents to return to the Warriors next season. There is no way the other six all avoid the roster turnover that begins next month.

“The safe thing to say is we’re not going to have the same look next year, in terms of having five or six vets,” coach Steve Kerr says. “We’re going to be younger. We’re going to have more youth, more energy to help us through the regular season.

“But it’s impossible to predict what the roster is going to look like.”

Here is a look at the other six free agents, in alphabetical order, and their chances of returning next season:

Forward/center Kevon Looney (2015 draft pick): Last October, with uncertainty surrounding his future after two hip surgeries, the Warriors declined to pick up his option for 2018-19. In retrospect, they would change that decision. Looney, 22, started six playoff games at center and appeared in all 21 postseason games. He can expect offers, particularly from rebuilding teams, but he loves being a Warrior. His parents also love being a part of this franchise. Though there is a limit to what the Warriors can offer ($2.2 million), they could benefit from other teams wondering if his body can handle the demands of a full-time starter.

Chance that Looney returns: 40 percent.

Guard Patrick McCaw (from the 2016 draft): The Warriors love his composure and his eagerness to play defense, guarding multiple positions. Though he was more effective as a rookie than he was in Year 2, there is no question they want him on board; veteran Andre Iguodala refers to McCaw as the guy who eventually will replace him. McCaw, 22, is a restricted free agent coming off a scary injury to his spine in April. Though he recovered well enough to play limited minutes late in the postseason, that injury might scare off some teams. The Warriors hope so. But all it takes is one team willing to pay more than they’re willing to match.

Chance that McCaw returns: 45 percent.

Center JaVale McGee (re-signed as a free agent last summer): McGee came to the Warriors two seasons ago as a player with specific skills in need of an image makeover. The 7-footer succeeded, becoming a significant contributor to a team that won back-to-back championships. The Warriors were willing to listen to trade offers before the February deadline, but got nothing they liked. So McGee remained and started Games 2, 3 and 4 of The Finals. He is a role player, though, and his effectiveness is limited to about 15 minutes per game. He’s 30, still young enough to be attractive, but the Warriors are eyeing Damian Jones as the heir apparent.

Chance that McGee returns: 15 percent.

Center Zaza Pachulia (re-signed as a free agent last summer): He went from being the most frequent starting center in the regular season to averaging barely one minute per game in the postseason. The upshot is that when the Warriors opt to match up with teams playing smaller, agile centers, Pachulia’s 6-11, 270-pound frame is not the answer. That and his age, 34, all but assure his time with the Warriors has come to an end.

Chance Pachulia returns: 1 percent.

Center/forward David West (re-signed as a free agent last summer): He had a terrific first half, and then tailed off to merely solid over the final three months. No other “big” on the roster can match West’s adroit passing and midrange shooting. He also serves as a locker room sage. He turns 38 in August, though, and is considering retirement. He has indicated to NBC Sports Bay Area that if he were to continue, it would only be with the Warriors. We have reason to believe he is leaning toward moving into the next phase of his life.

Chance that West returns: 10 percent.

Guard/forward Nick Young (signed with the midlevel exception last summer): Young was signed to bolster the team’s 3-point shooting off the bench. The Warriors finished 29th in bench 3-point makes (2.1 per game) without Young in 2016-17. They finished 30th, dead last, with him in 2017-18. As the Warriors went deeper into the postseason, his defense was more useful than his offense. Young’s relatively poor conditioning became a source of humor in the locker room. At age 33, it’s hard to imagine the Warriors bringing him back for another year.

Chance that Young returns: 1 percent.

Ron Adams mystified by West's comments: 'I have no idea what David was talking about'

Ron Adams mystified by West's comments: 'I have no idea what David was talking about'

During the postgame celebration on Friday night, David West said some things that certainly caught people's attention.

The 37-year old insinuated the the Warriors had some behind-the-scenes drama.

“We dealt with some things internally. When you guys find out about that (stuff), y’all are going to trip. I’m serious. Y’all are going to trip," West told reporters. "It’s a testament to the type of people these guys are and how tied together we were as a group and how committed we were to winning.”

On Monday morning, Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams was asked about West's comments.

[LISTEN: Subscribe to the Warriors Outsiders Podcast with Drew Shiller and Grant Liffmann]

"Well, first of all, I’m a little mystified by that comment," Adams said on 95.7 The Game. "Actually, when I read it, I asked Mike Brown, I said, ‘Mike, did I miss something this year?'"

“So, I don’t know. Quite frankly, I have no idea what David was talking about. Our year was marked by some inconsistency and in some games not playing to our potential certainly -- playing half of a game or perhaps more, but not always playing to our potential.

“And I think that probably led to some frustration. But in terms of anything in the locker room that I can recall, I just, I don’t get that (laughter). I have no idea what he’s referring to. I mean, any season you have your ups and downs. I thought for the most part our guys stayed together well.

“So, I’m a bit mystified. Maybe you’d have to consult someone else on that, because I’m older and sometimes I miss things. I think I missed that one.”

Before Adams went on the radio, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted this:

Stay tuned!

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors brief: Game 4 of the NBA Finals may be last time fans see favorite role players

Warriors brief: Game 4 of the NBA Finals may be last time fans see favorite role players

You never want to expect a championship, but now that the Warriors have taken a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals, it is hard to fathom them blowing a historically unbeaten lead. But if Friday's Game 4 is the final game of the series, it also may be the last time that Warriors fans may see some of their favorite role players in Warriors uniforms. 

By the Warriors' historic standards, the 2017-18 season was their version of tumultuous. They dealt with a rash of injuries, some inconsistent play, and overall apathy. The fire and desire to take on a challenging, long regular season was lacking, though justifiably. In order to bring a new fresh energy to the team next year, many expect the Warriors to do an overhaul of their bench. Here is how the roster may play out next season:

Under contract and not going anywhere:
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Quinn Cook

Not much needs to be said regarding Curry, Thompson and Draymond. They will be with the Warriors next season and contract extensions will be discussed for the latter two. Iguodala and Livingston are under contract and are still valuable to the Warriors both on the court and in the locker room. Any attempts to trade or dump their contracts most likely would only be a realistic option following next season. Jordan Bell and Damian Jones are expected to have much bigger roles next season, bringing a youthful energy and athleticism into the lineup. Quinn Cook will serve as Steph Curry's primary backup and fill a need off the bench that was lacking a majority of this season.

Free agents but expected to re-sign:
Kevin Durant, Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney

Durant is not leaving the Warriors. You can ignore the hot takes that are floating around the news recently. He is very happy with the team and has no intentions on leaving. McCaw is a restricted free agent, and many thought that he would play so well that he would out-price himself from the Warriors' plans to match any offer made to him. Unfortunately, inconsistency and injuries ruined McCaw's season. It is very likely he does not receive an offer big enough that the Warriors would not match. The team before this season did not exercise Looney's option for next season, so therefore he will be an unrestricted free agent. Looney has had an unexpected large role with the team this year, playing the role of the finesse big man that could use his length and agility to switch and defend smaller wings and guards. What hurts Looney's potential pay day this offseason are question marks regarding his fit with other teams that aren't nearly as talented as the Warriors to make up for his shortcomings, and the fact there is significantly less salary cap space to go around this offseason. The Warriors can give Looney up to $2.2 million for next season, and while he may be able to land a little more money, it is doubtful he will find a team that will utilize him as much as his current squad. 

Veterans that are unlikely to return:
Nick Young, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee

Warriors fans might be seeing these three for the last time in their home team's jerseys on Friday. Young never found the consistency with the Warriors and never fit into the role that the team had envisioned before the season. It is likely they use the money spent on Young to find a more athletic wing next season. Zaza Pachulia has fallen out of the rotation and probably will not return with the team, despite how well-liked he is. Perhaps he will eventually fit as a coach some day. McGee is the one that could possibly return, but it is still unlikely. He has played a role off and on these playoffs and throughout the season, and if he were willing to come back on the minimum again, perhaps the Warriors would be intrigued. But like last offseason, McGee searched for better offers only to finally land back with the Warriors. It is hard to see that situation panning out the same way again. 

Up to him:
David West

While West's role has diminished considerably these playoffs, he was perhaps the Warriors' fifth most important player the first half of the season. The Warriors would probably welcome back West's leadership and consistent play if he were willing to take the vet minimum again, though many believe the Warriors might seek a youth movement instead. As it stands, West is deciding between retiring and playing another season for the Warriors. He is very unlikely to sign elsewhere.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 124, Cavs 114 (OT)
Game 2 Warriors 122, Cavs 103
Game 3 Warriors 110, Cavs 102
Game 4 Cleveland -- Friday, June 8 at 6pm
Game 5 Oakland -- Monday, June 11 at 6pm
Game 6 Cleveland -- Thursday, June 14 at 6pm
Game 7 Oakland -- Sunday, June 17 at 5pm