Warriors

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.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from disastrous loss to Mavs

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from disastrous loss to Mavs

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – No energy, no chemistry, no chance.

Facing the downtrodden Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at Oracle Arena, the Warriors responded with perhaps their worst performance of the season, earning a 126-91 loss for their efforts.

This was so bad that not even Stephen Curry’s presence – he was given the night off – would have been enough to affect a rescue.

Eighteen days after a 33-point loss to Boston was the worst home loss of the Kerr era, the Warriors topped it. Or bottomed it.

Here are three takeaways from a game which should have no redeeming value to the Warriors:

Awfully atrocious abnormalities

After generating tremendous defensive momentum over the past five games – third in the league in defensive rating during that stretch – the Warriors were two levels below atrocious in the first half.

The Mavericks drained 12 of their first 15 shots. They shot 65.2 percent in building a 37-22 lead after one quarter. They made 11 of their first 18 3-pointers. With the usual transgressions – slow rotations, miscommunication and playing too loosely – on full display, Warriors coach Steve Kerr dipped into his timeout allotment three times in the first 14 minutes.

While Dallas was scorching the nets, the Warriors were tossing up brick, boulders and sticks, shooting 29.6 percent in the first quarter and 36.7 percent for the half.

The Mavs, from the jump, came at the Warriors, whose response was tepid, light years away from their recent championship-caliber defense. With the Warriors playing in a stupor, that defense did not make it to Oracle Arena.

Misfiring shooters

With Curry out, the other members of the Warriors bomb squad knew it was on them to carry the offense. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are capable of completing that assignment.

They failed spectacularly this time.

Durant, clearly responding to the circumstances, was aggressive but nowhere near his usual efficiency. Two days after putting up nine shots in a win over the Pacers, he jacked up 12 in the first quarter. He made four. He finished with 25 points on 9-of-25 shooting over 29 minutes.

Thompson was slightly worse, finishing 4-of-13 over 27 minutes.

The two All-Stars combined to 0-of-12 from deep.

As unsightly as it was, it would have been worse if not for the offense of DeMarcus Cousins, who shot 8-of-11 in scoring scored 19 points – which wasn’t close to being enough.

The liabilities and assets of short memories

With an 82-game schedule, there is something to be said about forgetting the last game and focusing on the next. It usually is the fastest route to recovery.

But the Warriors cited their March 10 loss to Phoenix as a turning point. They knew they had no business being roasted by the worst team in the Western Conference, one eagerly looking forward to the lottery. Embarrassed, they said.

The implication was, rather than forget it and move on, it was worth remembering for its motivational powers.

Then, 13 days later, this.

This actually was worse. The Suns prevailed in a close game. The Mavericks were never threatened, succeeding from the opening tip until the final horn.

The lesson for the Warriors in losing to the Suns at Oracle was supposed to be that any opponent is capable of beating them, despite back-to-back championships. To really remember that loss is to not allow a team such as Dallas to come in and thrive.

Warriors vs. Mavericks watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

dirkswarriorsusatsi.jpg
AP

Warriors vs. Mavericks watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

OAKLAND – On Saturday afternoon, for one final time, Dirk Nowitzki will return to the scene of the crime.

Back in April 2007, Nowitzki was assaulted in public, right there on the floor of Oracle Arena. He and his Dallas Mavericks teammates were roughed up and kicked completely out of the playoffs by a marauding band of Warriors with more heart and fight than size and might.

Nearly 12 years later, Nowitzki will be making his final appearance at Oracle when the Mavericks, already eliminated from the playoffs, come upon the Warriors, who lead the Western Conference and stand 21.5 games ahead of Dallas in the standings.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o’clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame at 4:30, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30.

[RELATED: How to watch Mavericks-Warriors online and on MyTeams app]

Whereas the 2006-07 Warriors achieved one of the greatest upsets in NBA playoffs history, ousting top-seed Dallas with a 111-86 rout in Game 6 at Oracle, the current Warriors are heavily favored to not only beat the Mavericks but also make a fifth consecutive trip to The Finals.

The Warriors (49-22) have won four of their last five games and are showing signs of peaking for a postseason that begins in exactly three weeks, which half explains why Stephen Curry has been given a “rest night.”

The other half of the explanation is that Mavericks (28-44) are bound for the lottery, which isn’t the most fitting farewell for Nowitzki, who turns 41 in June and is expected to retire. Rookie sensation Luka Doncic is poised to inherit the torch in Dallas.

In any case, with the Warriors bound for Chase Center in October, it’s Dirk’s last dance at Oracle.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Quinn Cook

Mavericks

F Justin Jackson
F Maxi Kleber
C Dwight Powell
G Jalen Brunson
G Luka Doncic

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut (rest), G Stephen Curry (rest), C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) and G Shaun Livingston (rest) are listed as out.

Mavericks: G J.J. Barea (R Achilles’ tendon surgery), Tim Hardaway Jr. (L tibia stress reaction) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: With Curry out, Cook is the most likely starter at PG. Kerr likes the idea of having at least three shooters on the floor and Cook qualifies. Starting him also would maintain the integrity of the rotation. It’s conceivable that rookie Jacob Evans III, summoned from Santa Cruz, could get a few minutes . . . Coach Steve Kerr’s decision to rest two PGs (Livingston being the other) is risky, as it leaves Andre Iguodala as the secondary playmaker. If Cook gets into foul trouble, Iguodala’s minutes could rise . . . With Bogut out, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell likely will share minutes behind Cousins at C. PF Jonas Jerebko could see time at both PF and C . . . Durant is two 3-pointers away from surpassing Glen Rice (1,559) and moving into 25th place on the all-time list of triples . . . The Warriors have won 12 in a row over the Mavericks at Oracle.

Mavericks: Nowitzki is averaging 13.7 minutes per game and has exceeded 20 only once since March 2 . . . Doncic has won all four Rookie of the Month awards this season, making him the front-runner to be named Rookie of the Year . . . Now three weeks past his 20th birthday, he is showing signs of fatigue. He’s shot 37.8 percent, 23.1 percent from deep, over the past 10 games. His season percentages are 42.6 and 33.3 . . . Brunson, a rookie from Villanova, has four games with at least 20 points since the Feb. 14-20 All-Star break. He’s averaging 15.7 ppg and 30.3 mpg during since then . . . Powell also has benefitted from the post-break youth movement. His mpg have nearly doubled (18.5 to 32.2) as have his ppg (8.7 to 15.7) . . . The Warriors benefit from the absence of Barea, who has a tendency to play particularly well against them.

Officials: Eric Lewis (chief), Mark Ayotte, Matt Boland.