Joe Lacob Talks Payroll, Green, Thompson, Wiseman

Warriors team governor Joe Lacob sat down for a wide-ranging conversation with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, on his show The TK Podcast, and discussed the possibility of an impeding $450MM payroll for next season’s team.

“It’s not possible without losing quite a bit of money at the bottom line, let’s put it that way,” Lacob said of being open to foot the bill for the 2023/24 season. “I can’t really answer the question right now other than to say: When have you ever known me not to be aggressive? We are aggressive. We’ll do whatever we can do if it makes sense and we’re in a winning, real championship mode.”

Though Golden State won the 2022 championship, the team stumbled out of the gate this season. Thanks in part to long-term injuries to stars Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the team is currently just the ninth seed in the West with a 20-19 record.

Kawakami and Lacob also discussed the erratic play of 2020 No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman, the futures of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in Golden State, and much more.

The whole interview is well worth a read in full, but here are some other highlights:

On whether the Warriors will actually lose money this season, given their already hefty luxury tax bill for 2022/23:

“It depends how far we go in the playoffs. If we go to the finals, we should be OK. If we don’t, we’ll probably lose money… All I could tell you is we’re just trying to keep up. We have a unique situation in that we have this aging but still great set of players. We have championship aspirations, and it costs a lot of money to do that. And we’re going to try like heck to rectify our finances going forward, but not at the expense of being able to win.”

On if Golden State will retain Green, who has a player option for 2023/24, and Thompson, who will reach free agency in 2024:

“I want to keep those guys here. I want them to be here. As long as they’re playing at a very high level, rest assured they will be here. I would love obviously for some of them to sacrifice (in salary) a little bit, or what they perceive as a sacrifice, to stay and to help our organization maintain a great roster. You always hope for that. It usually doesn’t happen. And I can’t blame them because they have limited life spans as players and they want to make as much money as they can.

“… Draymond and Klay, first of all, they’re both under contract for next year, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here… In Draymond’s case, he gets to decide, he has the power. He gets to opt in or opt out, do what he wants. I’d love for him to stay.”

On how the team is weighing Wiseman’s development against the win-now needs of the roster:

“There’s always a timetable in sports, whether we like it or not… But he’s 21 years old. You have to put this in perspective. And he’s an immense talent, he’s an incredibly hard worker, he really cares. These things matter. He had a lot of really bad breaks as we all know, it’s been well chronicled… He’s also in an organization and on a team which is trying to win championships. It’s different than playing somewhere they’re just throwing everybody out there, young guys are putting up numbers, getting a lot of experience. It’s hard for our young guys to do that here.”

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