The Golden State Warriors will be facing a difficult roster decision in the near future, and one analyst believes that breakout star Jordan Poole could be feeling the most pressure.
The Warriors have four players who are eligible for extensions in the coming months, all expected to score big paydays — Poole, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. With the Warriors already deep in the luxury tax, it seems unlikely that they would be willing or able to pay all of them. According to insider Cyrus Saatsaz, Poole could be the one under the most pressure to perform.
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Tough Decision for Warriors
Speaking in the “Locked on Warriors” podcast, Saatsaz noted that it would be financially prohibitive for the Warriors to keep everyone.
“In theory, the Warriors next year if they keep all these players could have a payroll that exceeds $400 million,” Saatsaz noted. “That’s just astronomical, you’ve only seen these kinds of numbers from a team payroll in baseball, certainly not in the NBA.”
Saatsaz said he believes Poole may need to prove he can follow up his breakout season before scoring a big financial commitment from the Warriors. Poole averaged 18.5 points in 30 minutes last season, becoming a key member of the rotation and an important part of the team’s title run, but also struggled with defensive lapses at times.
“I think it comes down to either Wiggins or Poole, and I think Wiggins has more value,” Saatsaz said, stressing that it was still just speculation on his part. “I love the fact that we have a year to answer this, because this next year in a way is an audition for Jordan Poole. If he wants max dollars, he’s going to have to perform a little better.”
Other members of the Warriors will have to prove themselves as well, he added. When the Warriors rolled out a small-ball lineup in the playoffs with Steph Curry, Thompson, Poole, Green and Wiggins, it forced Wiggins to guard opposing big men and serve as a primary rebounder. Wiggins played the role well but will need to show he can play this role consistently next season, Saatsaz said. Green needs to stay healthy and show he can keep playing at a high level after some stumbles in the NBA Finals, he added.
Help Could Be on the Way
There could be a scenario where the Warriors keep all of their stars. Keith Smith, a cap expert with Spotrac, noted that in the next CBA teams will likely not be penalized anymore for paying their own draft picks. If that happens, the Warriors would likely be able to keep all of their players, Saatsaz said.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers has been an advocate of this change. In an appearance on 95.7 The Game’s “The Morning Roast,” Myers said teams should get a cap exemption for players they drafted and developed.
“I think on that point, you should be allowed to spend on your own players,” Myers said. “I mean, we drafted a lot of these guys, we developed them. It’s not like we went out and signed all these guys as free agents and built some team that way. Larry Riley’s the guy that drafted [Steph] Curry, I was here when we drafted Klay [Thompson], we drafted Draymond [Green], we drafted [Jordan] Poole, we traded for [Andrew] Wiggins. Nobody wanted Wiggins, I mean nobody was saying anything then.”
Myers has also hinted that the luxury tax wouldn’t necessarily prevent the team from giving Poole a major extension.