3 Golden State Warriors who need a monster second half of the season to save their job

Golden State Warriors v Philadelphia 76ers
Golden State Warriors v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Despite an 8-2 record in their 10 games prior to the All-Star break, the Golden State Warriors remain in a precarious position on the edge of the Play-In Tournament at 10th in the Western Conference.

While the Warriors will need all hands on deck over the second half of the season, there's some players who face greater pressure than others with more than just the team's fortune on the line.

A number of Golden State Warriors will be playing for their future at the franchise over the second half of the season

If the Warriors fail to earn a playoff spot, there'll be change coming at the franchise in the offseason. Golden State are poised above the second-tax apron, yet have the flexibility to get below the luxury tax altogether should things go pear-shaped.

That means that some players are playing for their future at the franchise, particularly those on expiring contracts. However, some have greater latitude than others -- for example, Klay Thompson is playing for his starting two-guard spot and for a new contract, but the Warriors will almost assuredly offer him a deal of some kind in the offseason regardless of his production in the coming months.

Others might not have the freedom of choice. Let's look at three players who need a big second half of the season to save their job at the Warriors:

1. Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney's seen his role drastically diminish over the first half of the season, including losing his starting center spot as Golden State prefers to go small with fellow veteran Draymond Green.

The 28-year-old is now sharing backup minutes with Dario Saric, while rookie big man Trayce Jackson-Davis is also breathing down Looney's neck. Once a staple of the franchise, there were murmurs that Golden State could move the three-time champion at the trade deadline.

While that didn't eventuate, the Warriors could have greater flexibility to revisit a Looney trade in the offseason. He has an $8 million deal for 2024-25, but only $3 million is guaranteed. That means the franchise could make a deal to try and find an upgrade, or simply shed the salary to try and reduce their luxury tax bill.

Looney needs a big second half of the season to ensure the franchise has no choice but to guarantee the contract and keep him around as a continued key member of the team going forward.