Things are about to get very expensive in the Golden State.
Things were already expensive – the Warriors set an NBA record by paying more than $350 million in player salaries and luxury tax last season. This season they will be billed in the same ballpark. But there are limits to what even Joe Lacob and Peter Guber (owners of the Warriors) will spend, even with the cash cow that the new Chase Center is filling their bank accounts. Stephen Curry is about to start a no-brainer $215.4 max contract extension, Klay Thompson is at the max, Andrew Wiggins is in the final year of his max and will likely get an extension at a slightly lower but still steep price, and Jordan Poole is up for an extension and while not the biggest he is a bridge to the future. All of which led to a bit of interesting speculation:
Will the Warriors have to break up the band soon? Could Draymond Green be the odd man out?
Green is currently eligible for an extension, but Warriors GM Bob Myers denied he was out, speaking to The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami.
“No, I would say definitely, unequivocally (he’s) not a guy that we’re looking at and saying he’s not going to be around,” Myers said. “Now, at some point, decisions will have to be made. But as important as he is to this organization and what he’s done, we’re going to do everything we can to keep him in the fold…
“Draymond, it’s certainly clear to anyone what he’s done for us. I couldn’t sit here and say, ‘Well, it’s not going to be over.’ I can’t even get the words out of my mouth.”
Green is due to make $25.8 million this season and is widely expected to opt out of his $27.6 million player option next season. The Warriors can extend that deal for four years, $138.4 million (average $34.6 million per year), big for a 32-year-old but also short of what Curry and Thompson will make ( they are both above this $40 million). season). Green isn’t the offensive player he was six or seven years ago (7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 7 assists a game last season), but that’s not the end of the floor where he made his money—he he is Ireland’s Defensive Player. Pioneer of the year last season until injuries took their toll.
There are a lot of questions: Will the Warriors put that max extension on the table? Would Green take it? Does Green think there could be a bigger contract for him as a free agent next summer? Green brings very specific skills to the table as a defender and passer, but he doesn’t fit every system, how many teams would make him a huge offer?
The biggest question remains where will the Warriors make cuts? With a title shot they are wisely bringing the band back together to chase another ring, and are vowing to leave the West. But with Green, Wiggins, and Poole back in the fold, the 2023-24 Warriors could see payroll and taxes jump north of $400 million, a figure even they expect. Changes have to come from somewhere. It’s something to watch as they sign players to extensions before the start of this season, with an eye to the future.
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