Warriors

Steve Kerr pushes for Warriors to re-sign Kevon Looney to long-term deal

Steve Kerr pushes for Warriors to re-sign Kevon Looney to long-term deal

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr doesn’t often publicly discuss personnel matters faced by the Warriors. Those questions, he will say, are for general manager Bob Myers.

The coach made an exception Friday. He expressed his desire that the team re-signs center Kevon Looney to a long-term contract when he becomes a free agent in July.

“I was terrified all last year, after we denied the option, that we were going to lose him,” Kerr said. “He was great last year. But it was a bad free-agent market for the players last summer. People just didn’t have money. So, we got lucky in terms of being able to keep him. And he’s turned into such a good player for us.

“I’m really, really hoping that we can keep him long term and that we can give him the contract he deserves and he can make some good money and we can enjoy having him on our team for many years.”

This does not imply that Kerr has no desire to see Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson remain Warriors beyond this season, as well. Rather, it is more a matter of not wanting to lose Looney, who has become a valuable member of the rotation and whose cost will be a fraction of what Durant and Thompson will command on the open market.

Looney, 23, is a coach’s dream insofar as he rarely makes mistakes and is not prone to some of the mental errors that can plague young players. He has some physical limitations – he’s an average athlete – but he compensates with sound judgment and hoops intellect.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves Warriors in free agency]

After a solid regular season, particularly on defense, Looney has been terrific through three postseason games. In 53 minutes off the bench, he has scored 35 points on an absurd 82.1 percent (14-of-17), while adding 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, with one turnover.

“He’s gotten better and better,” Kerr said of Looney’s offense. “You can see the confidence growing every game . . . there’s a lot of dunks and a lot of put-backs, but also making that midrange shot. This is the best he has played in his career.”

Looney re-signed with the Warriors last summer for $1.57 million. The Warriors will have full Bird rights this time around and, if so inclined, likely would be looking at deal that would pay somewhere in the range of $5-6 million annually.

Warriors-Blazers Game 4 watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

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Warriors-Blazers Game 4 watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

PORTLAND – The aches and bruises of 97 NBA games have the Warriors longing for a few days of rest and recovery. A win Monday night would grant them more than a week.

That’s the goal for the Warriors as they approach Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers. They have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and nothing would feel better than a sweep.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Blazers Game 4]

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Playoff Central at 5, with tipoff of the ESPN telecast from Moda Center scheduled for 6:10.

The Warriors followed the 82-game regular season with 15 postseason battles – six games against the Clippers, six against the Rockets, three against the Blazers – and there are signs of wear and tear. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant are injured, and Andre Iguodala limped into the locker room in the third quarter of Game 3 on Saturday.

“It’s very motivating for us, to try and sweep the series and have that time off,” Draymond Green said. “We’re a little banged up. Nine days off would be great for us. It would allow Andre time to heal. Shaun (Livingston) is old. It would give him a week off. But also, it would allow the possibility of Kevin and DeMarcus to get healthy and come back as well.

“It’s very important for us to come out (Monday) with the right mindset. We didn’t do that against the Clippers. We extended the series, and all of a sudden Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) were going into the Houston series questionable because of ankle injuries they suffered in a series that should have been over.”

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors
F Andre Iguodala or Alfonzo McKinnie
G  Draymond Green
C  Andrew Bogut or Damian Jones
G  Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Blazers
F Al-Farouq Aminu
F Maurice Harkless
C Meyers Leonard
G CJ McCollum
G Damian Lillard

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L calf tightness) is listed as questionable. C DeMarcus Cousins (L quadriceps tear) and F Kevin Durant (R calf strain) are listed as out.

Blazers: C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) is listed as out.

PROJECTED ROTATION

Warriors: If Iguodala sits, expect McKinnie to start at SF. He was solid in Game 3, hitting a couple shots, grabbing nine rebounds and posting a plus-24 over 21 minutes. Thompson also is capable of putting in time at SF, which he normally does when playing alongside reserves Quinn Cook and Livingston . . . Damian Jones was a surprise starter at center in Game 3. Activated May 14 after missing five months with an injury, he was whistled for three fouls in the first three minutes and spent the rest of the game on the bench. Coach Steve Kerr could try that again, but it seems unlikely. That leaves Kevon Looney and Andrew Bogut as possible starters, and Kerr prefers to have Looney coming off the bench . . . The 3-point barrage that seemed inevitable after Game 1 has not materialized. Since going 17-of-33 in Game 1, they are 17-of-55. Curry is 10-of-30, Thompson 5-of-13. Though Portland has patched up its defense, the Warriors also have missed numerous open looks from deep.

Blazers: Lillard is playing through a “separated rib” sustained in Game 2 and clearly is hampered. He’s shooting 32.6 percent from the field and has committed 14 turnovers. If he can’t play at an All-Star level, it’s tough for Portland to succeed . . . The Blazers have faded in the second half of all three games, averaging 42.7 points. Part of the struggle can be attributed to the Warriors hiking their intensity, but it’s also apparent the team is affected by the grueling seven-game series against the Nuggets in the previous round . . . With the Warriors rightfully placing most of their defensive focus on Lillard and McCollum, it has created opportunities for others. It paid off in Game 3, as Leonard -- making his first start this postseason -- scored 16 points. That’s a tradeoff the Warriors will take every time, as they believe the path to victory is through containing the guards, either of which could ring up 40 points . . . Coach Terry Stotts made liberal use of a three-guard lineup, with Seth Curry joining Lillard and McCollum. Why? Because three guards comfortable launching from deep, as is Leonard, it greatly aids floor spacing. Expect to see plenty in Game 4.

Officials: Mike Callahan (crew chief), Jason Phillips, Kevin Scott. Alternate: Sean Wright.

Warriors vs. Blazers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

Warriors vs. Blazers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

Through three games of the Western Conference finals, the Warriors have had little problem with the Portland Trail Blazers.

With the Moda Center crowd cranked up to 11 on Saturday, the Blazers roared out to an 18-point lead in the first half. But as was the story in Game 2, the Warriors erased the lead in the third quarter and went on to win 110-99, grabbing a three-games-to-none series advantage in the process.

Now the Warriors have a chance to break out the brooms Monday night in Game 4 and earn some much-needed rest before their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

Golden State will once again be without Kevin Durant, and could be without Andre Iguodala who is questionable with soreness in his Achilles region.

Should the Warriors complete the sweep, they will be off for 10 days -- The Finals don't begin until May 30. 

Here's how you can watch Warriors-Blazers Game 4 on television, as well as NBC Sports Bay Area's "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" pregame and postgame coverage live on NBC Sports Bay Area and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 6 p.m. PT on Monday, May 20, on ESPN (pregame show starts on NBC Sports Bay Area at 5 p.m.)
Pregame/postgame show live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app
Game live stream: WatchESPN