Golden State Warriors set to make sensibly loyal move on key veteran

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

Following an underwhelming season that included being removed from the Golden State Warriors' starting lineup, Kevon Looney has become one of a number of veterans whose future is up in the air this offseason.

Only $3 million Looney's $8 million contract is guaranteed for next season, with the Warriors reportedly firming on a decision regarding the former first-round pick.

The Golden State Warriors are set to retain veteran center Kevon Looney beyond his June 24 contract guarantee date

According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater on Saturday, Golden State are expected to let the June 24 date go past without taking up the financial incentive of cutting Looney.

" They are expected to let the rest of Looney’s $8 million contract guarantee, keeping him in their current plans, though it does remain possible they eventually use his salary to help complete an offseason trade. "

Anthony Slater

While the Warriors could have saved $5 million in salary and millions more in potential luxury tax payments, retaining Looney is the sensible move given his stature as one of the locker rooms key figures.

Cutting him would have been a cold-hearted, brutal decision with little acknowledgement of not only his impact over a nine-year career, but the fact he's played well above his contract value at significant points across recent seasons.

Looney may have had a down season, yet it's still less than 15 months since he concluded a career-best year by producing a dominant first-round series against the Sacramento Kings and All-Star center Domantas Sabonis.

For the sake of a few million dollars, it's worth taking the risk of hoping the 28-year-old can return to a similar level of form. The worst case scenario is that you've got an $8 million player who provides excellent leadership and education to young center Trayce Jackson-Davis, and someone who can step in, knows the system, and is largely reliable when called upon.

This doesn't mean Looney is a guarantee for the opening night roster, with his salary becoming a potential trade piece as identified by Slater. The three-time champion is unlikely to hold much value around the league, but his expiring contract could nonetheless be useful as a salary-matching mechanism for the Warriors.