The goal for the Golden State Warriors this offseason is to somewhat maintain the good thing they’ve had for the last five seasons. After three NBA titles and five Finals appearances in the last five years, why remake the wheel?
While Golden State doesn’t have the space to pursue expensive free agents from other teams, they can keep exceeding the salary cap and luxury tax lines to re-sign their own guys, such as Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.
Basically, that means the organization has to dip into their coffers that are coming from high ticket sales, as well as the second-best memorabilia sales in the league. The franchise is valued at $3.5 billion according to Forbes. In short, the Warriors have money to spare for 2019-20.
What about Kevin Durant? Well, as CBS Sports writes, Golden State would save a billion dollars between salary and luxury tax should the All-Star walk away this summer.
The Warriors could become the first team to field four max-contract players with Stephen Curry already one, Thompson and Durant potentially two and three this summer, and Draymond Green up for his own max contract next summer. If they sign all those guys, then re-up Looney at roughly $15 million over three years, even if they fill out the rest of the roster with minimum-salary players and draft picks, their total bill in salary and taxes with be $1.6 billion over the next four years.
On the flip side, if the Warriors were to lose Durant and only sign Thompson and Green to max deals, their four-year bill in taxes and salary would “drop” to $629 million, per ESPN.
One thing that would help ease the tax is the status of Andre Iguodala. The 34-year-old occupies $17.1 million a year, so either a trade or his retirement would lessen the financial burden.
Golden State Free Agency Plans This Offseason
One of the benefits of jettisoning Iguodala would be to hold onto the rights of contributors such as Kevon Looney, Jonas Jerebko or Jordan Bell. Keeping those three, in particular, would maintain some semblance of size on the team.
Each earned less than $2 million last season, and none are players that are really able to “demand” much more. Looney is getting significant looks from Boston, Chicago and Houston, for what it’s worth.
Cousins is the remaining wildcard. The Knicks are pursuing him just in case their plans fall through with superstar targets such as Kyrie Irving, Durant and so on. As Forbes notes, Cousins would be fine with a short-term deal that gives him a full season opportunity to produce statistically and move past his injuries.
Cousins is looking for a 20 percent bump from his $6.4 million salary from last season, or $7.68 million. Between Maxi Klieber, Daniel Theis and Tyson Chandler, the Warriors have plenty of cheap options in free agency to patch up the frontcourt for next season.
Klieber, in particular, would fit the system as a floor-spacer and rim protector. He earned just $1.3 million last year for the Mavericks.