Warriors re-signing Kevon Looney, losing more members of NBA Finals rotation

The Warriors paid a massive luxury tax en route to the NBA championship. But would they keep spending to maintain their roster, particularly starting center Kevon Looney?

Yes to Looney. But no to three other members of Golden State’s NBA Finals rotation.

After Gary Payton II agreed to terms with the Trail Blazers, Otto Porter (Raptors) and Nemanja Bjelica (Fenerbahce) are also moving on.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Free agent forward Otto Porter Jr. has reached an agreement with the Toronto Raptors on a two-year deal with the second being a player option, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Sportando:

Turkish champions Fenerbahce and Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica have reportedly agreed to a 2-year deal according to Turkish journalist Ugur Ozan Sulak

That looks like a fair deal for Looney. After seven years with the Warriors, he executes his assignments well. He’s a versatile defender and active screener and rebounder. Importantly, Looney has improved as a passer, negating some of the floor-spacing issues that emerge when he and Draymond Green (who has regressed as a shooter) share the court.

Golden State’s luxury-tax bill now projects to be about $159 million. Not quite as high as last year, when it was a record-breaking $170 million. But there’s still time to spend more.

Not enough to keep Porter and Bjelica, though.

Porter fits Toronto’s mold of long wings. He’s not as athletic as the typical Raptor, but he shoots better. That tradeoff should bring better balance.

Bjelica is a stretch big but a defensive liability.

The Warriors can ideally promote Moses Moody (Payton’s), Jonathan Kuminga (Porter’s) and James Wiseman (Bjelica’s) to fill the vacated rotation spots. There was some though Wiseman might even allow Golden State to let Looney walk.

But Looney has such great chemistry with the Warriors, and Wiseman – when last seen on the court – didn’t. Keeping Looney is important stability for a Golden State team not ready to take a step back.

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