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 follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Warriors follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Throughout his career, Draymond Green simultaneously has been Golden State's emotional leader and one of its best players. 

On teams featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Green consistently was the team's emotional heartbeat, occasionally willing his squads to unforeseen victories in standout performances that didn't necessarily reflect on the stat sheet. 

The latest example of Green's impact came in the last 12 minutes of Friday's 100-98 win over the Bulls, when he passed, defended and guided the Warriors to their fifth win of the season. 

A glimpse of Green's impact came four seconds before the final frame began when Golden State coach Steve Kerr substituted Green for Jordan Poole. On the next play, Green switched onto Bulls guard Coby White, forcing an off-balance miss. Four minutes into the fourth quarter -- with Golden State down 89-84 -- he successfully contested a Tomas Satoransky jump shot, leading to a fastbreak opportunity. Four minutes later, Green received a pass from guard D'Angelo Russell, drove the lane and found center Willie Cauley Stein for a dunk. With a minute left and the game tied at 98, he found Glenn Robinson III for another lob dunk to help seal the victory. 

Green -- who finished with nine points, five rebounds and four steals -- was responsible for 10 of the team's 23 fourth-quarter points, helping the Warriors outscore Chicago by eight points in the final frame. 

"Our defensive pressure picked up," Green explained after the win. "I think down the stretch in games, you have to do that. There have been games this year where teams have put pressure on us and we didn't respond well. I think tonight we were the aggressors and it worked out in our favor."

"He made great plays down the stretch," Robinson said of Green. "He got down on the floor for loose balls. He got us going, his talk, his communication. You always want a player like that the floor, directing things."

Green's performance came at a particular time of peril for Golden State. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup, the Warriors are one of the league's worst teams. In their last four games entering Friday night, they had been outscored by 61 points, including a 106-91 blowout loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. 

[RELATED: Sources: Steph has surgery to remove pins from hand]

Worse, Green's play has followed suit. Over his previous nine appearances, he had shot just 38.5 percent from the field while dealing with a myriad of injuries. On Friday, both he and his team found their stride. 

"We played the whole game hard," Warriors forward Eric Paschall said. "I felt like as a team, that's a big step for us after the last two games. We felt like we didn't compete at a high level. I felt like it was real good for us just in terms of coming out with a win."

Golden State's season has been new territory for Green. Since entering the NBA, he has never missed the playoffs, but with the Warriors' star-studded cast out for an extended time, that streak is expected to end. That makes Friday's act of leadership all the more important going forward. 

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls

BOX SCORE

Too bad the Warriors can't play the Bulls every night. 

In their latest outing, the Warriors beat Chicago 100-98, sweeping the season series against Chicago while avoiding a winless five-game road trip. 

After Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's uninspired play, Golden State put together its best effort in nearly a week. 

The Warriors aren't going to beat most teams on talent like recent years. In order to have a chance on a nightly basis, they'll have to play as hard as they did Friday night at United Center. 

Here are the takeaways:

All heart

In the days leading up Chicago, Kerr was critical of his team's hustle and spirit. Against the Bulls, the Warriors got the hint, highlighted by a 16-5 run to start the second quarter. Golden State shot 57 percent from the field in the frame, helping the team get within one point at halftime. 

Similar efforts were littered throughout the game. When the Bulls went up seven, the Warriors went on a 14-5 run to take a brief lead. Eric Paschall continued his stellar rookie season, scoring 13 points, adding three rebounds and two assists. 

As they grow, the Warriors will continue to learn lessons during their transition. The one constant will have to be the effort they showed Friday. 

Too many miscues

Golden State's response to Kerr's demand would've been smoother with better control of the basketball. The Warriors committed 11 of their game-high 19 turnovers in the first half. 

Entering Friday, Chicago was among the stingiest teams in the league, forcing 18 turnovers per game.

Turnovers are a function of undisciplined play. The Warriors' youth was on display, and they were fortunate to get the win.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: Why Warriors' focus is on player development]

Robinson drilling III's

In a game the Warriors needed an extra scoring punch, they got it from Robinson, who scored 20 points, including two 3-pointers. After struggling at the beginning of the season, Robinson has come alive in recent games. 

Over his last eight outings, he's averaging 13.6 points while shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range. 

If Robinson can keep this up, he will force his way into Golden State's future plans.