Free agency officially tipped off at 3 p.m. Thursday, but Kevin Durant turned NBA Twitter into a frenzy when news broke that he requested a trade out of Brooklyn exactly three years to the day he left the Warriors.
It seems unlikely Durant would return to the Bay Area, but at 34, Durant is one of the most coveted NBA trade targets in NBA history. The acquisition of the superstar would make any team an automatic contender for a title.
Meanwhile, Golden State has nine free agents, including Gary Payton II and Kevon Looney, two players the team has expressed interest in bringing back.
The Warriors have plenty of reasons to re-sign as many of their free agents as possible. But it’ll cost them.
Owner Joe Lacob has said that winning titles gives ground for a budget increase, meaning it’s possible that the Warriors could reach the $400 million payroll limit president of basketball operations Bob Myers threw out last year as a maximum budget.
The Warriors dolled out a record-setting $350 million between salaries and luxury-tax payments last season, by far the most in the league.
“There was many times where this team did not look like a championship team,” Myers said. “But the pressure I felt in the front office was if we spend this much money and lose in the first round, that would be pretty catastrophic… the only way paying that much money made sense was to think that we could make it this far.
“The same idea would have to take place and take root for next season. If we felt like it could be a championship team, then you do kind of go all-in with all your chips. If we didn’t, we’d probably hold back.”
Our Kerry Crowley broke down the current state of the Warriors’ roster with details on each player’s contract situation before free agency opened. And Shayna Rubin examined who are the free agents the Warriors should prioritize.
Now that you’re caught up, here’s the latest Warriors news in free agency:
June 30, 8:45 p.m.: Warriors still in talks with top two free agent targets but could be outbid for one
Gary Payton II has drawn a strong offer from the Trail Blazers among other suitors, sources said. I’m told Portland has the richest contract, roughly $8M, out to the versatile defender, but still mutual interest in Payton’s return to Golden State. Bruce Brown another POR target.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 1, 2022
The Warriors are still apart in free agency negotiations with Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II. There is still an expectation Looney will return, but internal belief is growing that Payton could leave the Warriors.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) July 1, 2022
June 30, 5:30 p.m.: Warriors wave farewell to Oakland legend Juan Toscano-Anderson
Juan Toscano-Anderson’s time with the Warriors has officially come to an end.
Toscano-Anderson agreed to a deal with the Lakers less than two hours after free agency opened Thursday afternoon. The news came one day after Golden State decided not to extend a qualifying offer to the Oakland native before the deadline to do so, paving the way for Toscano-Anderson to be a free agent.
Toscano-Anderson, a lifelong Warriors fan who grew up going to games at Oracle Arena, went undrafted out of Marquette and played in various international leagues, including stops in Mexico and Venezuela, before he joined the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors after a local tryout.
Contributed by local news sources