Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

The Warriors brought Northern California yet another parade, celebrating their third championship over the last four seasons. Despite the nearly unprecedented success, the team will continue to evolve and coach Steve Kerr said there may be significant changes to the team’s roster.

“We had a lot of vets this year. I think you’ll see more youth and energy to help us get through all that,” Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the scribe’s podcast. “We’re going to have to be very creative and we going to have pace ourselves again and hopefully everything comes together in the playoffs, but you never know.”

Several of the team’s veterans are set to become free agents and it sounds like Kerr is preparing to lose a number of them. Zaza Pachulia, who made roughly $3.47MM this past season, will hit the market. David West (approximately $1.47MM) may retire. Nick Young (slightly over $5.19MM) signed a one-year contract last offseason and will look for work yet again this summer.

If Golden State is going to hand out anything over the minimum, it will have significant financial ramifications on the club. NBA teams trigger the repeater tax penalties if it pays the luxury tax in a given season and has paid it in three of the previous four years. The franchise paid the luxury tax during the 2015/16 campaign as well as this past season. If the Warriors finish next season above the luxury tax line, they’ll face the harsher parameters on their payments.

Those fiercer penalties are as follows:

  • $0-5MM above tax line: $2.50 per dollar (up to $12.5MM).
  • $5-10MM above tax line: $2.75 per dollar (up to $13.75MM).
  • $10-15MM above tax line: $3.50 per dollar (up to $17.5MM).
  • $15-20MM above tax line: $4.25 per dollar (up to $21.25MM).
  • For every additional $5MM above tax line beyond $20MM, rates increase by $0.50 per dollar (ie. $4.75 for $20-25MM, $5.25 for $25-30MM, etc.).

The Warriors already have roughly $103MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season and that’s before Kevin Durant gets whatever contract he wants. Not to mention Golden State plans to talk extensions with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The luxury tax line is projected to come in at $121MM and while the team isn’t going to be frivolous with its top players, it may be more prudent with its fringe rotation players, as it will almost certainly be a luxury tax payer in the summer of 2019 and possibly beyond. It would be surprising if the team brings back Young at or near his current salary given his production and the franchise’s luxury tax repeater status.

The USC product sported a 3.1 player efficiency rating during this year’s playoffs. Of the 158 players who played at least 6.0 minutes per game this postseason, only four had a worse mark than Young. He saw a total of 205 minutes, though much of his court time came with the team ahead and the game nearly out of reach.

The Warriors found production on cheap deals in Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook this season, and it appears they will look to replicate that success by searching for young, affordable talent to fill out the roster behind Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and their four All-Stars.

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14 thoughts on “Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

  1. acarneglia

    Iggy or Shaun might have to be moved to help GS to afford some other players.

    • Chris

      Honestly at this point, I’d consider letting them both go. I really can’t see them being worth a combined $48 million over the next 2 seasons

    • xdrta

      How exactly would the move them? If traded, assuming they could find someone to take them, they would be taking back salary anyway.

  2. formerlyz

    If GS doesnt add someone that can help them in their rotation, I could see them being vulnerable to Boston or Philly next year, depending on what philly does. It will be year 5 for them, and a couple of their guys are starting to get a little older, like Livingston and Iguodala, and it’s still not clear if David West will be back as a big that can defend and stretch the floor a bit and pass out of the high post. They could use 1 or 2 guys for reinforcements for next year. That being said, they’re the obvious favorites barring anything crazy

    I think Zaza is gone, Javale is gone, Nick Young is gone, West retires, McCaw might be gone, Jones might be gone.

    They should try to keep Looney if they can.
    I could see Anthony Tolliver, Trevor Booker, Seth Curry, someone on the wing if they have their mid level although there isnt much out there, the 28th pick (There should be a potential 2 way wing in those spots), and maybe they can buy another 2nd round pick, or I can see them giving Okafor a look to possibly replace Zaza, although he would probably barely play, or maybe they use a roster spot on someone they want to call up from the G-league

    • ajetergiftbasket

      They aren’t getting rid of Jones as they’ll need his cheap production with the incoming parting with Zaza, West and possibly one or both of Looney/McGee.

  3. Chris

    Philly has a long way to go. Even with an added superstar I think they’re a year or two away

    • GuruGray

      As a guy who watched nearly all of the Sixers games this year, I agree. Even if they manage to add LeBron, they’re not on the Warriors level in terms of talent and chemistry

      • x%sure

        You can’t rely on beating GSW by talent and chemistry. There are other factors to beat them with, and they can be beat. Grit, awareness, defense, clutch play. HOU almost did it and CLE did. CLE has necessarily evolved a matchup-altering iso offense. Ask Jeff Vangundy about it– it alarms him.
        But CLE was real short on talent and chemistry, too much to overcome.

  4. I don’t think the luxury tax is much of a concern really. Cannot understand why fans fuss so much about it, Golden State made 130MM this playoffs alone, not counting tv money or RS, so with the playoffs alone they make more than they are gonna pay in tax, so I don’t see how luxury tax is an issue while you keep winning/getting to finals, money is not an issue for winning teams, just the exposure that Golden State gets for dominating the NBA pay all the bills, wish more teams were bolder & did go for it ignoring the tax, then we would have a more competitive situation.

    • Luke Adams

      For what it’s worth, the report on the $130MM specified that amount was what the team GROSSED, and said they’ll only keep about 30% of that. (To your point though, the same report was using those figures as evidence that the Warriors probably won’t be too bothered by paying the tax).

    • The Warriors are primarily making as much as they are because of their playoff success. I’m pretty sure the Cavs lost money, or barely broke even, last postseason or the postseason before that. Its hard for some teams to justify going into the luxury tax to not make the playoffs/exit in the first round. If every playoff team made $100m in extra revenue, then they would always go into the luxury tax. Again, its super easy as fans to say the owners should spend more money when the fans aren’t the ones writing the checks. Sure fans are paying for tickets and merchandise but the luxury tax is basically being paid out of pocket by most owners.

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