2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Golden State Warriors

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

With Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston gone and Klay Thompson out for the season with an ACL injury, the Warriors were expected to fall off to some extent in 2019/20. Once Stephen Curry went down with a long-term hand injury, Golden State bottomed out completely, entering the NBA’s hiatus with a 15-50 record, worst in the league.

Armed with a top-five pick in the 2020 draft and a $17MM+ trade exception, the Warriors are uniquely positioned to bring back multiple healthy stars while continuing to upgrade their roster — assuming they’re willing to pay a substantial tax penalty to do so.

Here’s where things stand for the Warriors financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

Barring a series of cost-cutting moves, it looks as if the Warriors will probably have the NBA’s highest team salary and tax bill next season by a comfortable margin. A roster that starts with their eight fully guaranteed salaries, plus full salaries for Chriss, Lee, and Bowman, would approach $146MM. Throw in a pricey lottery pick, plus potential additions using their massive trade exception and the taxpayer mid-level exception, and the cost of this roster would be eye-popping.

It will be interesting to see whether a reduced salary cap for 2020/21 will have a noticeable impact on the Warriors’ aggressiveness. The current ownership group hasn’t been shy about spending big, and it will want to take advantage of a still-open championship window with Curry, Thompson, and Green in their early 30s. But if the team does go all-in, its luxury tax bill will end up being comically large.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,718,000 4
  • Trade exception: $17,185,185 (expires 7/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $2,177,483 (expires 1/25/21)
  • Trade exception: $1,925,880 (expires 2/8/21)
  • Trade exception: $1,897,800 (expires 2/8/21)
  • Trade exception: $1,620,564 (expires 2/8/21)
  • Trade exception: $1,620,564 (expires 2/8/21)
  • Trade exception: $1,597,100 (expires 7/8/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,597,100 (expires 7/8/20)
  • Trade exception: $869,699 (expires 7/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $407,257 (expires 7/8/20)

Footnotes

  1. Chriss’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 15.
  2. The cap hold for this pick will depend on where it ultimately falls in the lottery. Currently, the Warriors rank first in the lottery standings.
  3. The cap holds for Barnes, Bogut, Jerebko, West, and Derrickson remain on the Warriors’ books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2019/20. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  4. This is a projected value.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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2 thoughts on “2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Golden State Warriors

  1. stevep-4

    Wow, with the MLE and all those trade exceptions they could swing bringing in some decent veteran role-playing talent via trade and FA market. If they again contend for the title next year, that could be worth the taxes.

  2. x%sure

    I think GSW will go for a couple players that will increase their ability to intimidate; tough guys; given the nature of their big 4, now with Wiggins probably staying.

    GSW out-physical’d Cleve in 2017 and to some extent every year. They had odd patches of passivity in 2016.

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