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Warriors Free Agency News: Kevon Looney Is The Top Priority, Gary Payton II Could Leave The Dubs

Warriors Free Agency News: Kevon Looney Is The Top Priority, Gary Payton II Could Leave The Dubs

Keeping together a title-winning squad can often be quite difficult. A lot of players have to step up at various points to help the team cross the finish line and invariably, that leads to their stock rising around the league. The Golden State Warriors had Stephen Curry to thank for the most part for them winning their 4th title in 8 seasons but he definitely didn't do it by himself.

Jordan Poole was the star of the show in many ways against the Denver Nuggets while Kevon Looney put in some tremendous performances against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks. It was then Andrew Wiggins' turn to step up to the plate in the Finals and Gary Payton II also returned in time to make an impact, as he had the second-best plus-minus in the series with a plus 35. First on that list happened to be Looney who was a plus 48 and the two of them are free agents heading into this offseason. The Warriors as per a report in the Athletic, have made Looney their top priority in free agency while Payton is attracting serious interest from around the league.

"The timing is still being finalized, but the Warriors’ front office contingent is expected to meet with Looney’s representatives — his agent is Todd Ramasar — in the early portion of free agency, which begins at 3 p.m. (PT) Thursday. There is no bigger or more urgent situation than Looney’s. He is the top priority."

"The Warriors are considered to be the favorites to retain Payton’s services. But the favorite label — as in the situation regarding Looney — is far from a guarantee, still a few days from the starting bell. Payton is expected to command interest on the open market. The Mavericks are considered among the most serious suitors."

The decision to make Looney a priority here is quite understandable. The Warriors had drafted James Wiseman with the 2nd pick in the 2020 draft in the hopes that he'd blossom into their starting center but he has struggled with injuries and isn't someone who can be trusted with big minutes in high-pressure situations quite yet. Looney proved he can be the man for the job in these playoffs and his own health is no longer a concern either.

As for Payton II, players like him always tend to be in demand in the league and if the Mavs do end up losing Jalen Brunson to the Knicks, then their interest in Payton could intensify. The Warriors also plan to retain their other role players, with the likes of Otto Porter Jr who had an impressive season, and Nemanja Bjelica who did well in limited action, being in their plans.

"The Warriors also intend to pursue reunions with Porter and Bjelica. Porter was particularly impactful at various moments of the title run. If the price tag for Porter on the open market gets too high, he is considered obtainable for outside suitors. Bjelica spent the playoffs on the fringe of the rotation, but did perform when called upon. He was on a veteran minimum last season and, if he chooses to return to the Warriors, it’d likely be on another vet minimum deal." 

Andre Iguodala also got some minutes under his belt in the playoffs and while the Warriors would welcome him back with open arms, retirement is a possibility for the veteran and they are giving him time to make his decision. The likes of Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damion Lee could also be back depending on how the rest of free agency pans out.

"As of Monday morning, the Warriors had still yet to be informed whether Andre Iguodala planned to retire or not. After completion of an 18th NBA season that included a fourth title, the Warriors are giving Iguodala the time and space to decide on his future, but have let it be known publicly they’d like to have him back because of the presence he provides in the building."

"Toscano-Anderson and Lee are favorites in the locker room and highly respected throughout the organization and region. Both have had big regular-season moments during their time with the Warriors and, if free agency breaks in certain ways, could return"

The best-case scenario of course is that they somehow find a way to keep all these guys as this has shown to be a special group of players. It is going to be very difficult though, but the Warriors have shown that they are not averse to spending the big bucks.

Whatever happens from here on out, one thing is for sure, this memorable title run will live long in the memory of each and every individual who was a part of it even if they end up going their separate ways.