What will the Golden State Warriors look like in two years?
We are a week removed from the Golden State Warriors second NBA Championship in the last three years and fifth overall as a franchise. The team celebrated last Thursday with a parade that had an estimated attendance of 1.5 million people. The players continued their cigar and champagne tour through the weekend in Las Vegas, where they watched Bay area boxer Andre Ward defend his unified light heavyweight championship belt against Sergey Kovalev. Amongst the celebration, some big questions need to be answered fairly soon by management to continue this ride.
After convincing Kevin Durant last July to sign with Golden State, General Manager Bob Myers and company understood that the deal Durant signed was essentially a one year deal. Last season, the NBA’s salary cap figure went from $70 million to $94 million with a $113 million luxury tax limit. This wiggle room allowed the team to sign Durant to a two-year deal, with the second year as a player option. Durant recently opted out, but all signs point to the former MVP of signing a long-term deal with the team. The cap for this season will increase once again to $102 million and a luxury tax limit of $121 million. Add in the fact that the Warriors signed Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to team friendly deals back in 2014 and 2015, and now Myers is in a position to resign both Steph Curry and Durant to max long term deals this offseason. The bad news is, what will the rest of the team look like next season and in 2019?
Granted, having a team that features a starting lineup of Curry, Thompson, Green, and Durant is a great problem to have, role players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, and JaVale McGee were vital pieces to the team’s success this season and could be unfortunate salary cap casualties. The big four will eat up the majority of the 121 million luxury tax limit next seasons, with an estimated 101.4 million coming from those guys.
That gap doesn’t leave much room for the remaining roster spots this upcoming season. Myers, along with Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, will dig deep into their pockets once again to pay the luxury tax to field the NBA Champions next season.
This offseason, the Warriors will try and convince Iguodala, Livingston, and Pachulia to take some sort of a pay cut from their salaries last season. Time will tell with these key role players on their future with the team, but hopefully, they’re able to stay on. Early reports on Iguodala have mixed reviews, with the former NBA Finals MVP focusing on the birth of his new daughter and letting his group handle the business part at this time. Livingston will have suitors around the league. Those teams will be hopeful that the former first round pick repeats his production of the last two seasons but in a starting role. Pachulia, along with David West, McGee, and Matt Barnes, will be regulated to veteran minimum contracts again. If not, there’ll be plenty of other veterans looking to win a ring before calling it a career.
The interesting part will be two years from now in 2019 when Myers has his next big decision to make. Does he resign Thompson to a max deal or let the all-star shooting guard walk? Not many teams carry three max contract players, let alone four, so making this happen will be Myers biggest task since signing Durant last July. Thompson will be one of the bigger names to hit the market in 2019, so other teams will gladly open their checkbooks to add one of the best two-way guards in the league if the Warriors don’t. Not to mention, this decision will directly impact what the teams does in 2020 when Green’s contract is up as well.
Regardless, the next two seasons will be exciting for Warriors fans. The NBA Champions are heavy favorites to repeat next season and barring any major injuries, should be favorites once again in 2018.
Do you believe the Warriors will keep Iguodala and Livingston next season? Or will their price tags be too steep? Does Myers work his magic in 2018 and resign Thompson? Let me know what you think in the comments.