NBA: Warriors prioritize keeping championship roster intact
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers knows from experience — keeping a championship roster intact is nearly impossible.
Even so, Myers and head coach Steve Kerr emerged from their latest NBA title parade and draft prep knowing the clock is ticking for the franchise to reach agreements with pending free agents.
“Free agency, unrestricted especially … it is in our control to a certain extent, but in some ways, it’s not,” Myers said. “I hope that our players will give us a chance to respond to an offer. They don’t have to. They don’t owe it to us. But that’s what you get if you win and you create a good environment. You might get a chance to match something.
“Our goal, our hope is to bring all those guys back and try to do it again. They were all great in different ways and all fill different needs for us. … A lot of our free agents had big moments in the NBA Finals, which means they’re pretty important.”
Here’s the personnel depth chart Myers and Kerr are most concerned about at the moment: Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica and Damion Lee are unrestricted free agents.
That doesn’t include the prevailing challenge of being $24.6 million over the luxury tax and having two key contributors — Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins — eligible for significant extensions.
Wiggins could slot into max territory and has only one season left on a five-year, $147.5 million deal.
The former No. 1 pick has no deadline to sign a contract extension, and Myers said keeping both players was a top priority.
“We’ll make a big effort to keep those guys,” Myers said.
A max deal for Wiggins would come at a four-year, $146.4 million level and, factoring in luxury tax, would cost the Warriors nearly $230 million.
Kerr admitted Looney is going to get “a great contract” from someone, “hopefully from us.”
A starter after rotating with James Wiseman early in the season, Looney emerged as a force on the glass and defensive end. Looney, who snared 22 rebounds in one game against Memphis in the playoffs, also played big minutes in the Western Conference finals and NBA Finals.
Just 26, he could have a number of suitors, Myers said.
Payton II evolved from defensive specialist to a critical role player in the second half of the season. The Warriors won without him in the playoffs following an injury in the second-round series with the Grizzlies, but Kerr noted his importance in multiple games of the Finals.
Payton II, 29, paid his dues in the G League and with three other NBA teams before his breakthrough with the Warriors. He logged 20-plus minutes in three of five Finals games.
–Field Level Media