What's next for Warriors after tough start to free agency?


The start to NBA free agency this year hasn't been kind to the Warriors. They reportedly already have lost Gary Payton II to the Portland Trail Blazers and Otto Porter Jr. to the Toronto Raptors, and after Golden State didn't give a qualifying offer to Juan Toscano-Anderson, his agent confirmed he agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

And at this publishing time, Kevon Looney still is on the open market. 

This isn't time to panic. As long as the Warriors still have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, they'll be in better position than most teams. It doesn't hurt having Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, plus other exciting young talent, too. But that doesn't mean there aren't questions to be asked. 

So, where do the Warriors go from here? And what does this all mean? 

Well, the starting point has to be Looney. He was priority No. 1 going into the offseason, and his importance has only grown. Losing three players, including two key rotation pieces from a championship roster, will be missed. All three also were respected voices in the locker room.

Losing Looney would hurt the most. 

For all that Payton, Porter and Toscano-Anderson brought to the table, the center is the focal point of the Warriors' defense and the only player at that position on the roster is a 21-year-old coming off a knee injury who hasn't played an NBA game since April 10, 2021. Retaining Looney is a must. 


Replacing what Payton provided won't be easy. His combination of being a 6-foot-3 guard who can defend multiple positions and is the dunker on offense is unheard of. It would be a group effort to make up for his loss. 

One that starts with Moses Moody, along with Jonathan Kuminga. A healthy Ryan Rollins figures to be part of that equation down the road, and this also could pave a clear path to a roster spot for Quinndary Weatherspoon. 

Porter often was called the "perfect Warrior" by Steve Kerr this past season. His plus-minus would speak for itself. It always felt like he was the most likely Warriors free agent to leave in the offseason, and his loss also will be felt. It calls for two things: A shooting big/wing and more minutes for Kuminga. 

The return of Nemanja Bjelica would help fill the gap of a veteran big/wing who can space the floor. He reportedly might be headed back to Europe to play overseas. There's a handful of those still on the open market. Is there the right fit, though? Outside of Looney's return, that's the next challenge for general manager Bob Myers and the rest of the front office right now. 

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Finding more minutes for Kuminga won't be a challenge, though. A second-year jump always is part of the plan for a No. 7 overall draft pick. After the promise and potential he showed as a 19-year-old rookie, he figures to be a key part of the Warriors' success and will see a whole lot of playing time. 

Either way, it's non-stop entertainment with Kuminga. This should be fun.

The first order of business is making sure Looney doesn't leave the Bay Area. There are other holes to fill, and the future is here with Kuminga and Moody -- at the very least.

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