Kevon Looney

Why Warriors guaranteeing Looney's contract was smart, logical move

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Having charted the pros and cons, the Warriors concluded that $8 million is an affordable one-year salary for a perceptive locker room presence who also happens to be their steadiest rebounder.

Kevon Looney will remain with the Warriors for at least one more season, as the team on Monday guaranteed the final year of his contract, ensuring the veteran big man will remain with the franchise that made him the 30th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

The decision comes after months of uncertainty, as the Warriors plan to reduce payroll over the next couple of weeks. But Looney has become a valuable member of the team for his contributions on and off the floor.

After being the primary starting center for two-plus seasons, Looney’s role was diminished last season. Draymond Green and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis split starting duties over the second half of the season. Looney’s playing time exceeded 15 minutes only twice over the last two months.

Still, Looney’s 12.6 rebounds per 36 minutes led the Warriors and ranked 12th in the NBA last season. He is one of the reasons Golden State, despite a relatively size-deficient roster, led the league in rebounding at 46.7 per game.

No less important is Looney’s role as unofficial keeper of team culture. His perseverance through multiple physical challenges and team-first mentality is visible in all he does, from mentoring rookies to counseling veterans.

Looney brings a measure of comfort to head coach Steve Kerr and members of his staff.

Guaranteeing his contract allows the Warriors the flexibility to keep someone they value or utilize in trade.

Smart move all the way around.

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