Mike Dunleavy

Why Shelburne believes Warriors will go ‘big game hunting'

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After a pair of disappointing seasons on the heels of the Warriors' 2022 NBA championship run, could Golden State and general manager Mike Dunleavy look to shake things up this summer? ESPN's Ramona Shelburne believes they will.

During an interview with 95.7 The Game's "Willard & Dibs," Shelburne detailed why she's confident in her belief that the Warriors will make a splash move during the NBA offseason.

"Last time I was on the show with you I mentioned I thought they'd go big-game hunting, I still think that, that's how [the Warriors] roll," Shelburne told Mark Willard and Dan Dibley. "Let's see what they're able to pull off. They're going to have to get creative, they're going to have to work hard for it. I don't see any world in which they trot back out the same team and hope it goes better.

"I think they make some changes and try to get this team better. You just don't have a guy like Steph Curry on your team and a mediocre cast around him. You just don't do that."

Golden State will have very fine margins to work with, entering the offseason with $249,265,900 on the books in 2024-25 salary cap obligations, with a sizable chunk that could potentially be freed up if the Warriors decide to move on from Chris Paul.

The Warriors have until June 28 to make a decision on the 39-year-old point guard, at which point the $30 million he is under contract for next season becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on Golden State's roster. Finding a way to move on from Paul would be the Warriors' quickest path to freeing up a substantial amount of money, although it could be a decision that proves difficult after the positive impact the future Hall-of-fame guard had during his lone season in the Bay Area.

Veteran big man Kevon Looney is under contract for $8 million next season, with only $3 million being fully guaranteed. If Looney remains on the roster seven days before the 2024 NBA moratorium period that begins on July 1, the entire $8 million becomes guaranteed. While Looney has been a fixture of multiple Golden State title runs, the emergence of Trayce Jackson-Davis creates an interesting discussion about the future of the three-time NBA champion.

The biggest elephant in the room remains Klay Thompson's looming unrestricted free agency. The four-time NBA champion has spent his entire 13-year career with the Warriors, making it difficult to envision a scenario where he doesn't remain with Golden State and maintain his place in the storied core of Curry and Draymond Green.

How much Thompson ultimately will command in the open market remains a mystery, and it could leave the Warriors with an extremely difficult decision due to the limited resources at their disposal due to the contractual obligations on the books for next season and beyond. Does Dunleavy retain the aging franchise icon or take a swing at bringing in a different star player alongside Curry and Green?

The answer will be one of the biggest storylines to monitor as the NBA offseason approaches.

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