Warriors rumors: Kevin Durant reunion unlikely; Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II top free-agent priorities

Fresh off winning the 2022 NBA champion, their 4th in the last 8 seasons, the Golden State Warriors head into the opening of complimentary firm (set for Thursday at 6 p.m. ET) focused generally on maintaining their own gamers. Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica, all of whom played genuine functions in the title run, are unlimited complimentary representatives. Looney, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic, is the group’s leading concern, followed by Payton. 

Before we get to that, nevertheless, with all the chaos taking place in Brooklyn today, exists any opportunity that Kevin Durant might discover his method back to the Warriors? Kyrie Irving will apparently decide in to the last year of his agreement, however that does not imply he can’t still be traded. If that takes place, Durant could, and likely would, quickly follow. 

The Warriors, on paper, would possibly have among the more appealing deals to provide to Brooklyn. Jordan Poole (possibly a sign-and-trade), James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, even Andrew Wiggins if a Poole sign-and-trade isn’t included for the structure of the salary-exchange requirements, might all be included. Throw in a future draft choice. Brooklyn would need to listen. 

But the Warriors have actually focused on developing a bridge from this age to the next. They have actually withstood trading high-leverage draft choices and the gamers those choices ended up being. They’ve was successful because objective, winning another title without jeopardizing the future. Durant is a various offer. He’s still among the very best gamers on the planet, as is Stephen Curry. Putting those 2 back together would basically guarantee champion contention for the foreseeable future. But owner Joe Lacob fancies an unlimited timeline of contention. 

He just recently had this to state: “I know we — I, [general manager Bob Myers], the organization — took some criticism from some people that we should trade all the draft pieces that we have to get one more great player or whatever. I was very adamant about it, and so was Bob. That was not the path that we were going down.”

Sam Amick of The Athletic just recently composed the following: “Don’t hold your breath for a Warriors reunion, as all signs point to that being a total non-starter.”

This may not simply be reticence on the part of the Warriors, mind you. Durant is still taking heat for his initial choice to associate the Warriors after they beat his Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference finals. If he were to do it once again, after stopping working to surpass the 2nd round on his own (thanks for absolutely nothing, Kyrie and James Harden) while the Warriors headed out and won yet another title without him, the buffooning would be limitless. 

Durant states he does not care what individuals state. Maybe he does, possibly he does not. Either method, it does not seem like Durant returning to the Bay, as much sense as it may make on paper, is a sensible choice. 

As for Looney … 

It’s a quite huge twist in Golden State’s script that it has actually pertained to worth Looney this extremely. They decreased the fourth-year choice on his novice offer, requiring him to re-sign on a $1.5M minimum handle 2018. Then they prepared, and right away began, his replacement in James Wiseman in 2020. But Wiseman hasn’t turned out as a beginning center, a minimum of not yet, and because space Looney resurfaced as an important cog in the Warriors’ champion wheel. There’s no chance they win this previous title without him. 

So now Looney has actually gone from no take advantage of with the Warriors to a fair bit. All the gamers desire him back. Steve Kerr desires him back, and understands he should have to be paid also. What Looney provided for the Warriors last season, especially in the postseason, for $5.1M was among the most uneven team-friendly worths in the league. 

“He’s a championship center,” Steve Kerr just recently stated of Looney. “A modern-day defender, a switch defender, which is what it takes in the playoffs. The way he’s worked, the way he’s developed, they way he’s become such a big part of out internal leadership, our fabric, he’s a huge component to our success. We all want him back. We also are rooting for him personally to get a really good contract. Hopefully it’s from us.”

Chances are, the Warriors will certainly be the group to spend for Looney. Marc Stein reported that competing groups are ending up being “pessimistic” that Looney would choose to leave the Warriors. But it’s going to cost them huge. Remember, it’s not simply Looney’s wage. The Warriors are so deep in the repeater high-end tax that, per Slater, “every extra dollar spent on salary will be multiplied by around seven.”

Slater’s mathematics begins with a rough $8M yearly number for Looney. For the Warriors, in overall, that would equate to “somewhere around a $50 million payment.” Looney has actually taken minimum-to-modest wages from the Warriors and provided well above that rate for many years. He’s not going to provide a sweetie offer once again. He’s visiting what he can get on the free market, as he should, however once again, the Warriors appear quite bent on bringing him back so long as the number is midway sensible. 

Payton is going to cost huge, too

Like Looney, whatever Payton makes money, it will be a lot more on the bottom line of the Warriors’ books. These tax charges are no joke. Still, per Slater, the Warriors are “considered to be the favorites” to sign. Dallas thought to be amongst the “most serious suitors” for Payton, however there are definitely a great deal of groups that would like to have him. 

Golden State will not get him for inexpensive. An yearly rate of $12M is a reasonable, if rough, price quote. The most the Warriors can provide Payton is $13M each year. with early riser rights. It would need to a minimum of be a two-year offer, however most likely 3 or 4. 

Golden State likewise desires Porter Jr. and Bjelica back, however they’re not the top priority that Looney and Payton are. Bjelica, particularly, would most likely just return on a veteran minimum offer, per Slater. Porter might get the taxpayer MLE, which is around $6M each year. 

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