The Golden State Warriors have had quite the summer. They won their fourth championship in eight years, added talent in the NBA Draft, re-signed most of their key free agents, and improved their depth and overall roster. Not bad at all. Of course, what goes up must come down, and it’s only a matter of time before the Golden State Warriors dynasty ends.
Actually, that could be sooner rather than later if they don’t make some drastic changes to cut salary. That’s not surprising, they’ve been spending an outrageous amount of money for years now, but they’re approaching the tipping point. I mean, big market or not, they can’t continue to spend the way they’ve been spending and not hit a financial brick wall.
The luxury tax could force the Golden State Warriors to make tough roster decisions
The Warriors currently have four players making at least $25 million next season and Jordan Poole could soon be the fifth player if he and the team agree to a rookie contract extension. If it wasn’t for the luxury tax, the Warriors could easily afford to pay each player but even team co-owner Joe Lacob has admitted that it’s had a negative effect on the team, financially.
That could soon force the Warriors to make some tough decisions to slash salary, which would also significantly cut the amount they pay in luxury tax. One such option would be to let Andrew Wiggins walk after next season and hope Jonathan Kuminga will be ready to replace him, while still on his rookie contract.
Then there are more drastic options like declining James Wiseman’s fourth-year option if he doesn’t establish himself as a rotation player, or also letting Draymond Green leave if he opts out after next season. Those would be incredibly tough decisions for the Warriors to make but they make some sense.
Wiseman was the second pick in the 2020 NBA draft but did not make much of an impact during his rookie season before it was cut short. He then missed his sophomore season with a knee injury so next season will obviously be crucial for him. If he establishes himself as a key member of the rotation, great. However, if he doesn’t, the Warriors may have to either decline his $12.1 million team option or look to trade him for picks.
That might sound premature, but they can’t justify paying him that much when they could find a vet to contribute on a minimum contract, although they wouldn’t have Wiseman’s upside. After all, because they’re paying the repeater tax, Wiseman’s salary would also cost them three and a half times that in luxury tax.
As for Green, he reportedly wants a max contract and the Warriors probably aren’t going to pay him that since he’s clearly declining. The two sides could always agree to a new deal for much less, say another four-year contract worth $100 million, and by not retaining Wiggins and/or Wiseman, they’d be able to afford that.
That would allow the Warriors to keep their big three together while having young players like Poole and Kuminga there to offset any drop-off. It would also make the Warriors much cheaper, allowing them to continue their dominance.