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.

Steph Curry among Warriors at Juan Toscano-Anderson's Oakland protest

Steph Curry among Warriors at Juan Toscano-Anderson's Oakland protest

How did Warriors superstar Steph Curry spend his Wednesday afternoon?

He took part in a peaceful protest against police brutality and systemic racism at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Golden State forward -- and Oakland native -- Juan Toscano-Anderson organized the event.

"No matter the color of your skin, where you're from, how much money you got -- it doesn't matter," Toscano-Anderson said to those who gathered. "We're all human beings. We're all here for the same purpose.

"Right now, it's about black people. But for humanity -- there's people all over the world being oppressed. We're just trying to take a step in the right direction."

[RELATED: Brees still believes kneeling is 'disrespecting the flag']

Additional members of the Warriors arrived after the walk began.

Protests around the country continue in response to George Floyd's tragic death last week while in police custody in Minneapolis.

 

What if Warriors had traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love in 2014?

What if Warriors had traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love in 2014?

Editor's note: Twice a week, NBC Sports Bay Area will look back on biggest "What If?" moments in Bay Area sports history in our "Hindsight 2020" series. The first installment: What if the Warriors had actually traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love in 2014?

Klay Thompson permanently has etched himself into Warriors lore over the last decade, using his superior shooting ability to help win, and even save, the Warriors dynasty. Thompson, along with Steph Curry, has given the Warriors a backcourt never before seen in basketball.

But back in the summer of 2014, the Warriors' eyes were on their first title in 40 years, and Thompson's place in the said mission was murky. His standing in the franchise was uncertain when Golden State dangled his services to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal for Kevin Love

For Golden State -- who ended up winning three titles in five seasons with Thompson -- Love provided star power that would have validated Warriors' rise. For the pre-dynasty Warriors, Love provided something Thompson has never been: A double-double threat not seen in the Bay Area since Chris Webber. 

Despite never making the postseason to that point, Love would bring an established name to a new ownership group led by Joe Lacob looking to make a statement to the rest of the league. However, the deal got nixed when team consultant Jerry West reportedly threatened to quit if Golden State went through the plan. 

But what if Thompson's talents were traded for Love? What if Golden State gave up on the Splash Brothers too early?

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

For context, the timing of the trade is noteworthy. While the San Antonio Spurs won the title with a modern offense in 2014, the league still put a premium on traditional big men who could roam the paint. In the same offseason, the Washington Wizards signed big man Marcin Gortat to a five-year, $60 million dollar deal.

But more importantly, the thought of adding Love -- a three-time All-Star at that point -- allowed Lacob to get the star power that'd spurned Golden State for years. Love was the prize, and the Warriors were eager to acquire him. 

But for Golden State, it would have made the team destined for dynastic glory merely a solid regular-season team. Spacing was a catalyst for the Warriors' success, and Love was most effective in the paint during his time in Minnesota.

Love's presence would have made Draymond Green expendable. At the time of the trade discussions, Green hadn't broken out as a bonafide starter. That wouldn't happen until the start of the 2014-15 season, only after David Lee was sidelined with a hip injury.

With Thompson off the roster, Curry would not have the necessary spacing or the heat-check partner Thompson provides. Love's defensive deficiencies would drive assistant coach Ron Adams insane. 

[RELATED: Six reasons why Warriors will play in 2021 Finals]

In Minnesota, Thompson would have been the franchise pillar leading a rebuild, a distinction he's never had the opportunity to live up to. But alongside Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad, he'd have little chance of success in his first season.

In 2015, he'd likely be joined by draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns. But as we learned in the Bay Area, Thompson is best served as the second or third-best player on a championship roster. The presence of Curry and Kevin Durant allowed Thompson to flourish on his own terms. On Golden State's stacked roster, Thompson's scoring binges and defense set the Warriors apart from the rest of the league. In Minnesota, his contributions alone wouldn't yield a title.

Trade notwithstanding, both players ended up on the right side of history. Love ultimately was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning a title with LeBron James in 2016, beating the Warriors along the way.

Meanwhile, Thompson won three titles in the Bay Area and has become an organizational pillar. The 2014 trade proposal looks preposterous in hindsight. 

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]