The center is sticking around the Bay Area.
As expected, Kevon Looney is staying with the Golden State Warriors. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the veteran center has opted into the final year of his deal, which will pay him $5.1 million for the upcoming season.
Kevon Looney is exercising his $5.1M option to return to the Golden State Warriors next season, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2021
The Warriors and their fans know Looney’s value, and likely see $5.1 million as a very good deal for him. But in a league where pretty stats still cash the checks, Looney and his career 4.3 points per game were unlikely to get much more on the open market.
There’s a long offseason ahead, which will almost surely feature the acquisition of another center, and could even include a Looney trade. But for now the six-year veteran — whom the Dubs drafted No. 30 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft — appears likely to begin the season as the team’s starting center, and will split the bulk of the center minutes with Draymond Green.
It’s very good news for Golden State that Looney is back, as his strong interior defense and ability to switch onto the perimeter are a key to the Dubs defense. His familiarity with the offense and the players in the locker room also play a big role, and he’s proven that he can be a solid contributor on a championship team.
His contract could also help the Warriors. While they surely won’t be shopping Looney, he’s one of the only players on the team that’s not on a minimum contract or a maximum contract. If the Dubs end up swinging a big trade in the offseason, Looney’s contract could be necessary to help make salaries match.
That’s down the road and unlikely though. For now, let’s just appreciate having Looney back on the Warriors for a seventh season and, hopefully, a third championship.