The Warriors will not be as talented next year after the crazy developments of the 2019 NBA offseason. But, it could have been substantially worse had they not been able to re-sign Kevon Looney to a three-year contract.
"That was a huge signing for us," Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said of Looney on The Warriors Insider Podcast. "Had we lost Kevon, we would've been in big trouble because -- I said it late last year -- he's become one of our foundational pieces."
Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston -- all critical pieces of the Dubs dynasty -- are no longer with the organization. The Warriors did manage to retain Klay Thompson on a max contract, but he's expected to miss a majority of the season while recovering from a torn ACL. They simply could not have afforded to lose Looney, too.
"I look at Kevon," Kerr continued, "with all of our departures, he's now one of our best players and one of the guys that we're really going to count on from night to night."
It's readily apparent that considerably more will be asked of Looney next season, both out of necessity and due to the fact that he's earned it with his play. While he still could come off the bench, Kerr is determined to give Looney more playing time, and is looking for him to add another dimension to his skill set.
"I saw him a couple weeks ago at the facility," Kerr recalled. "We talked a lot about him expanding his game. I would like to play him more minutes. You know, traditionally, he's been kind of a 25-minute a night guy. I'd love to get that over 30.
"I want him to shoot corner 3s," Kerr urged. "He's got a really nice touch and he shoots them in practice, but I think next year is the time to extend that range out to the corner 3, and we're going to give him every opportunity to expand his game. So, I'm thrilled that Kevon is back. He's a huge part of what we do, and I think a bigger part going forward given his development."
If it's not a new era in Golden State, it's at least a new phase. Clearly, Looney will play a major role in where the Warriors go from here.