When a team is willing to go beyond the threshold and pay the luxury tax, it means management and ownership believe they have a winning side at the palm of their hands; one which can contend for the NBA title in the immediate future, which is why the Warriors have no problem keeping the current pay levels and contracts, thinking that what they did this season with Stephen Curry and others is only the beginning.
The Warriors have $75 million committed to next season, although it is workable. Andris Biedrins has an early termination clause in his contract, and there’s an slight chance the Warriors help themselves by avoiding to pay his $9 million salary, after Biedrins scored a total of 24 points in 53 games last season and a total of 17 minutes in the postseason (thanks to @ctag823 for setting us straight).
Jarrett Jack is becoming a free agent, and after his performance as a backup point guard (or sometimes starter in small lineups) on a contract year (always deceiving), averaging 17.2 points per game in the postseason, he’ll be hard to sign for only $5.4 million he made this year. Carl Landry has a player option worth $4 million many think he’ll waive, trying to get a better deal, despite being moved around quite a lot over the last three years. Richard Jefferson is the worst contract they have, holding a player option worth $11 million, although the Warriors have a chance to amnesty him.
With all that going on, the Warriors won’t be able to make many moves that are outside the team – no major free agency moves, and no trades unless something very surprising happens. They believe they have something special with this young core, and that reaching the conference semifinals is only the beginning. Stephen Curry has emerged as the best shooter in the league, setting a few records along the way, averaging 23.4 points per game in the postseason.
With Andrew Bogut they might not have a consistent scorer in the paint, but his defensive merits far outweigh his offensive limitations. David Lee might be a terrible defender, but any team can use a guy who is almost an automatic double-double player. Harrison Barnes was a rookie no one expected big things from, but ended up averaging 16.1 points per game, and is going to be a centerpiece in the Warriors’ title plans.
Next season seems to be it for them. There’s a lot of money freeing up in 2013-2014 according to the current deals, which will allow some sort of overhaul to the fringes of the squad, not to mention Andrew Bogut, not the symbol of physical health, will be a free agent by then. The Warriors have a young, talented nucleus with Curry, Barnes and Thompson, without anyone too old to rely on in terms of significant contributions. And still, next season might be an excellent chance to make the most of this current roster.
That is why general manager Bob Myers is telling everyone willing to hear that this team and their ownership, moving to San Francisco in a few years, are going all in and have no problems paying the tax for it.
Yes, I would say unequivocally that this team has shown by last year that we’ll go into the tax to sign players and be competitive. The best thing about working for the ownership that we have here, the best thing I can say, is that in all the conversations we have as a group, the first word that is brought up is ‘win.’ That’s a blessing to be able to work in organization like that where it’s not budget, it’s not cost, it’s not dollars, it’s winning.
With a lineup who all but Andrew Bogut made their first ever playoff appearance, the Warriors think the only way to go is up, and the NBA’s flexible salary cap isn’t going to stop them.