NBA Rumors: Warriors Have Bold Plan to Keep Championship Team Together

By now, you already know the details. 

Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles and will be out for all of next season, if not gone from the Bay forever by way of free agency. Klay Thompson tore his left ACL and will be out until at least February unless he too decides to leave in free agency. DeMarcus Cousins is an unrestricted free agent. Kevon Looney, who showed himself to be a staple of a title-contending team, also is a free agent.

Andre Iguodala is 35. Shaun Livingston has played 14 seasons and could hang up his sneakers.

The postmortem on the Warriors' dynasty already is being written, with the five-time defending Western Conference champions heading into next season with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Iguodala and a whole lot of question marks.

But the Warriors are not planning on fading away quietly. With free agency getting underway Sunday, Golden State reportedly has a plan to keep their championship team together, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst reported in an article Friday.


In the days after their devastating Finals, where they lost Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to terrible injuries, the Warriors have developed an audacious plan to try to hold their status as a championship team together, sources told ESPN.

Much of it centers on a huge volume of money. By the time free agency opens Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, the Warriors will have offered both Thompson and Durant full five-year maximum contracts. For Durant, that means $221 million, and for Thompson, $190 million. Even with the reality that Durant might miss all of next season recovering from a torn Achilles and Thompson might miss the bulk of it coming back from an ACL tear, this remains the Warriors first choice.

Shelburne and Windhorst also reported the Warriors plan to retain Looney, who is a "priority," which would send their payroll to somewhere around $375 million with more than $200 million coming from the luxury tax.

None of this comes as a surprise, but when you think of the financial implications -- Chase Center or not -- it is bold.

Durant, who will be 32 by the time he steps back on a basketball court, still is expected to get max offers from a number of teams, including the Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.

Should KD decide that his time in the Bay is over, the Warriors reportedly have a plan to look at a sign-and-trade, Shelburne and Windhorst reported, citing sources. 

A sign-and-trade with Durant could allow the Warriors to get a $37.6 million trade exception, which they could use to look at sign-and-trade deals with other free agents.

If a sign-and-trade with Durant can't be worked out, then the Warriors could opt to try and retain Cousins and "build some of the offense around him" as Thompson works to get back from injury.

[RELATED: Warriors lowering expectations with uncertain future ahead]

Most expect Thompson to return to the Dubs, and the Warriors certainly appear confident. If they do indeed offer him the max contract Sunday, it should be a done deal.

But if the Warriors try to save some money, Thompson reportedly could take meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, opening the door for his exit and what would be a crippling blow. 

With this ambitious and expensive plan to retain their title-contending team in place, it doesn't sound like the Warriors will mess around with Thompson's contract at all.

They plan to be back fighting for titles soon.

The Warriors aren't going to give away their crown without a fight.

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