The Golden State Warriors have locked in a dynamic core for years to come, but the one concern over how long it might last comes down to money.
After a free-agency period that included re-signing Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston to join Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors could make history as the most expensive NBA team.
While there’s no foe in the NBA that figures to challenge them, their payroll, and the tax punishments that come with such a high one, threatens to break them up if ownership gets antsy about the total cost.
For now, however, the team seems to be going with the flow. After an offseason that saw the team commit to $334 million in contracts, Warriors general manager Bob Myers told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group in a podcast that the team was “way over” the budget that owner Joe Lacob set.
“Here’s the thing to know about Joe: He’s really competitive, and he wants to win,” Myers said. “And so you have to balance that, like anyone does, with running a business. … You have to balance spending with running a business with trying to win championships.
“But Joe is good in that we had a number heading into free agency as to what the budget was, and we’re way over it.”
That $334 million included a five-year, $201 million contract for Curry; a two-year, $53 million contract for Durant; a three-year, $48 million deal for Iguodala; a three-year, $24 million deal for Livingston; a one-year, $5 million deal for Nick Young; and a one-year, $3 million deal for Zaza Pachulia.
The Warriors also still have to fill out their roster with minimum contracts, adding to the total.
According to Spotrac, the Warriors’ salary allocations for 2017-18 is currently $135.8 million, which would be an NBA record.
Locking down Curry was a no-brainer, as he had been underpaid for years. But Myers also explained how the Warriors viewed Durant’s and Iguodala’s free agencies.
Durant had let the Warriors know he was open to taking less than the max so that the team didn’t have to renounce Iguodala and Livingston to re-sign them. Durant took significantly less than he had to, which in the end helped the Warriors’ tax situation. Myers said Durant’s sacrifice changed how they approached the rest of free agency.
Iguodala’s situation was a bit trickier, as multiple reports said some NBA teams were considering offering him big money to lure him away from the Warriors. However, Myers knew that if winning was the goal, the team had to re-sign Iguodala.
“The decision was: We’re trying to win championships now, and if this is what it takes to get Andre Iguodala back, this is what we’re doing,” Myers said.
“We operated a little differently, because when you’re in the window for [championship] contention … I would have never forgiven myself – and I think Joe would have felt the same way – let’s say we hugged the line and Andre Iguodala would have walked, wherever he went, who knows. And at the end of the season we lose in the Finals or the playoffs, and I look at Joe and we look at each other and Steve [Kerr], and we say, ‘We should have kept Iguodala. We could have had another championship.’ That’s what you can’t live with.”
It’s unclear what the Warriors’ payroll will be this season or in the future, but there’s no doubt it will be expensive. However, much to the pleasure of Warriors fans, it seems that ownership and the front office are putting money concerns aside to keep together what looks like the NBA’s next great dynasty.