How Kevon Looney Re-signing Gives Warriors Continuity Amid Transition

A little more than 24 hours into the negotiation window between NBA teams and free agents, the Warriors had several priorities, one of which was far and away No. 1.

Find a way to keep Kevon Looney.

Kevin Durant had already announced his departure. Klay Thompson had already agreed to return. Andre Iguodala had been traded to make room for the salary of D'Angelo Russell. The Warriors as we had come to know were breaking up. The roster was threadbare, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green the only healthy and proven veterans under contract.

The Warriors wanted Looney and, moreover, needed him. He didn't need the Warriors, but the 6-foot-9 center/forward wanted them.

That mutual desire was an undeniable factor in keeping Looney and the Warriors together, and it was enough for the two sides to agree Monday on a three-year contract worth $15 million.

After four seasons during which he made a total of about $6.8 million, Looney worked hard for the raise and not a soul on the team's payroll would argue he isn't richly deserving.

Looney had made it clear that he wants to be a member of the Warriors when they take the court for the first time at Chase Center in October. The only question was whether the team could afford him.

Even as Looney and his agent, Todd Ramasar, had discussions with the Houston Rockets on Sunday in Los Angeles, Looney's heart was in the Bay Area. So were his parents, Doug and Victoria Looney, celebrating Doug's birthday.

The Looney family can have a double celebration. And it wouldn't be as satisfying as that of the Warriors.

Only one player the Warriors have drafted since 2012 has played his way into their rotation: Looney, taken 30th overall out of UCLA in 2015. After two seasons affected by surgeries on each hip, he became a regular in 2017-18 and was their most reliable big man in 2018-19.

With Damian Jones the only center on the roster, it was imperative for the Warriors to bring back Looney. Even if he doesn't start -- and he might not -- he almost never disappoints.

He's in the right place on defense. He grabs rebounds in traffic. He's playing the right role on offense. He listens to veterans and to coaches, who appreciate that he requires no real maintenance. As unspectacular as he is, the Warriors tend to be a better team when he's on the floor.

That's why Looney was the best available free agent for their team. They hoped he'd be affordable. They unloaded enough contracts to make an offer that Looney would accept.

As an exhibition of the team's interest, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob was a part of the contingent that met with Looney and Ramasar in LA.

[RELATED: Iguodala reportedly will get buyout from Grizzlies, join Lakers]

The Warriors are in transition. They still don't know what their roster will look like when the season opens in October. They did know it would look infinitely better with Looney available, along with Curry and Green.

That done, everybody in the front office will sleep better Monday night than they did Sunday night.

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