Reporter expects 3x time champion to depart Golden State Warriors in the offseason

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Six
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Six / Harry How/GettyImages

Kevon Looney's career at the Golden State Warriors has never really been in question over recent seasons, with the veteran center having largely been regarded as a consistent and ever-reliable presence both from an on and off-court perspective.

Looney had the opportunity to leave in free agency of 2022, but as has long been the case, his value to the Warriors was always going to soar past what rival teams may have been willing to offer. The franchise recommitted to the now 28-year-old on a three-year, $22.5 million contract, one that's often been seen as a team-friendly deal.

But Looney's production has taken a nosedive this season, to the point where there were murmurs that he could be moved before the trade deadline earlier this month. While that didn't materialize, it was still an indication that the three-time champion is no longer the staple he once was.

Kevon Looney could be a victim of the Golden State Warriors' ambition to reduce their payroll ahead of next season

The nine-year veteran could see his future raised again in the offseason, with Looney holding an $8 million deal for 2024-25 of which only $3 million is guaranteed. On a recent episode of the Warriors Plus Minus podcast, The Athletic's Tim Kawakami stated his belief that Looney won't be on the team next season.

"I don't think Looney's going to be on the team next season. You wipe out $5 million right there and they (the Warriors) don't think that's going to be a loss on overall talent."

Tim Kawakami
Chris Paul, Kevon Looney, De'Aaron Fox
Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Kawakami recently interviewed Joe Lacob where the Golden State owner clarified his ambition not just to get under the second tax apron, but to get under the luxury tax line completely.

With Looney and the $30 million non-guaranteed option on fellow veteran Chris Paul, the Warriors have a pathway to make that happen. Their 10-3 record in the last 13 games has come with Paul sidelined by a fractured hand, while Looney has played a very limited role off the bench.

Golden State's hopes of getting under the luxury tax completely may be too big a challenge given it will hinge not only on Paul and Looney's futures, but also what happens with Klay Thompson and the sort of number the franchise legend may come back on next season.

Any Warrior team without Looney is going to look drastically different, with the 2015 first-round pick having played a monumental 259 consecutive regular season games dating back to March 2021.

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