The 2022-2023 NBA season is unofficially underway. With this week’s NBA Draft being the hot topic, free agency still dominates headlines. One of which is the case of now three-time NBA Champion Kevon Looney. Fresh off his 3rd NBA Championship, the Milwaukee native has completed his $5.1 million player option. And with reports of the center loving the idea to come back, the future remains uncertain if that would be the case. A healthy James Wiseman and a developing Jonathan Kuminga could hinder things. What if Looney did not return to the team who drafted him at 19 years old?
With many teams who need Looney’s services, we look at the three best landing spots for the pending free agent.
Three Best Landing Spots For Kevon Looney
Charlotte Hornets Become More Mobile
If you ask anyone who’s an NBA fan, watching the Charlotte Hornets is must-see TV. Between the hustle of Miles Bridges, to the showtime-like movements of Lamelo Ball, the Hornets are trending. But with the abrupt end to James Borrego’s tenure as coach, the Hornets go into this season with uncertainty Even the possibility of losing Montrezl Harrell looms over this team.
Regardless of coaching and lineups, Looney has been proven to be dependable. With the ability to interchange between starter and role player, Looney creates mobility needed with this young team. With PJ Washington also joining the free agency, Looney easily fills the void and an upgrade. Imagine having a big man who can give you 21 points and 12 rebounds when Ball or Bridges cannot provide scoring? Throw in championship pedigree, the young Bruin becomes a pivotal part of the team’s playoff aspirations.
Detroit Pistons Get A Long Term Center
The Detroit Pistons may easily become the team to watch next year. Drafting Cade Cunningham, flirting with trading Jerami Grant and helping Marvin Bagley III put his drama in the rear view are all positives. But with a litany of team options on the table and the 4th pick, the Pistons could have more flexibility than any team on this list to sign Looney.
The dagger vs. CLE pic.twitter.com/cjDXuhieXl
— Kevin (@kev7601) June 21, 2022
While Sabonis remains your starting four, Looney easily becomes your starting center. An easy choice when Looney outrebounds Kelly Olynyk by 3 per game, fouls less than Isaiah Stewart per game, and has more experience than Luka Garza. The downside may be the development of 3rd-year man Stewart, who outscores and out block Looney, something all teams need. Would the Pistons organization look into bringing in a player who just won a title versus continuing their young player’s development? If anyone can balance between the two, it’s Dwayne Casey.
Sacramento Kings Get Their Veteran
The Sacramento Kings have been ridiculed for every decision made over the past 25 years. Since Rick Adelman’s Kings lost in the 1st round of the 2005-2006 season, the team has not totaled more than 40+ wins in a season. It may be time for a turnaround. It starts with having Domantas Sabonis for a full season after trading for him in February. It’s being able to trust DeAaron Fox as your point guard after drafting Tyrese Haliburton only to trade him. Most importantly, it is time to put Mike Brown in a position to win.
“I’m not coming here to have fun… I’m coming here to win.” – Mike Brown
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 21, 2022
Enter a proven champion right at your team’s age timeline. The 25-year-old Looney can immediately slot next to 26-year-old Sabonis and become two double-double powerhouses not seen in Sacramento in years. While their height may not match Vlade Divac and Chris Webber, Looney’s reliability at the line, 60% career free throw, leaves him locked in during close games. For the 24-year-old Fox, the dependability needed to run an offense adds two mid-range threats to their arsenal. Plus, who else knows about the title culture than Harrison Barnes, who can also assist in comfortability and additional leadership on the court.
Whatever the choice may be, Looney is sure to get paid. Proving his efforts were key this playoffs, including not missing one regular-season game, calls for a raise. Will the Warriors be able to pay their center? Or will be time for Looney’s chase for ring number 4 continues elsewhere?