Kevon Looney fielding strong interest ahead of free agency

The Warriors do not need to worry just about Kevin Durant speaking with other teams with free agency. They have to worry about Kevon Looney doing the same thing.

Looney plans to speak with the Warriors, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls after free agency begins on Sunday at 3 pm PT, league sources told Bay Area News Group. Looney has been spending time in his hometown in Milwaukee, but he planned to be in Los Angeles on Sunday when free agency begins.

Looney hardly matches Durant’s statue, obviously. Yet, the Warriors consider it a high priority to retain Looney. So much that Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Looney “a foundational piece” after the fourth-year forward posted a career-high in points (6.3), shooting percentage (62.5), rebounds (5.2) and playing time (18.5). Looney has expected to field strong interest from other teams after also averaging 7.1 points on 68.8 percent shooting and 4.5 rebounds in 20.6 minutes in the postseason. After missing Game 3 of the NBA Finals against Toronto because of a fracture near his rib cage and chest area, Looney returned for Games 4, 5 and 6.

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Still, it appears that both the Warriors and Looney enter free agency intent on signing a lucrative deal. The Warriors own Looney’s so-called “Bird Rights,” which enable them to spend over the salary cap. Looney has told Bay Area News Group and other outlets that he wants to re-sign with the Warriors because of the team’s championship equity and how the team’s coaching staff and All-Stars helped develop him. Still, Looney remains mindful it only takes one NBA team to make an offer that becomes too good to refuse.

Therefore, the Warriors felt worried about losing Looney last summer for the same reasons. After Looney became saddled his first two NBA seasons with overlapping hip injuries, the Warriors found Looney increasingly reliable with his defense and hustle plays He fulfilled that role consistently despite having varying minutes as a forward and center both as a starter and reserve. The Warriors still re-signed Looney on a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum after Houston, Minnesota, the Clippers, Philadelphia and Atlanta failed to make any offers to signal their interest is serious.

It appears Looney will receive more offers this time. The Warriors appear more willing, though, to spend to ensure Loone does not accept those.

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