Warriors offseason preview: After title, extensions for everybody?

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Warriors offseason preview: After title, extensions for everybody?

Warriors

Warriors offseason preview: After title, extensions for everybody?

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After two years in the wilderness, and against regression factors such as age and injuries, the Warriors made it all the way to the Finals and won another championship.

There was doubt that the remaining core was enough to compete for a title without Kevin Durant. What followed his departure was years of shrewd moves by an experienced front office backed by an ownership group willing to spend. Along with good health, they put together one of the deeper rosters in the league and got enough improvement from some of their younger players to more than make up for the loss of Durant.

Golden State is set for the present and the future, so there really is no need to make significant changes coming off a finals run. Their main focus this offseason will be retaining their key role players and extending their starters. The Warriors also project to have a record-breaking luxury tax payment next season and an even bigger one the year after that.

Extensions for everybody

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Other than Stephen Curry, every other member of the Warriors’ “Fast Five” lineup is eligible to extend this offseason. The most pressing one is Jordan Poole, largely because his extension eligibility expires before the first day of the regular season.

Poole’s ascension has completely thrown out and skewed any previous assumptions about his market value. His extension negotiations will be very interesting and he may be looking at a contract that pays him $20-25 million annually. What Jalen Brunson gets in free agency this offseason can set the market for guards like Poole.

Andrew Wiggins will also be extension-eligible and was probably looking at a pay cut from the maximum salary he’s been earning before this playoff run. Now that he reinvented himself, had his first All-Star season, and was arguably Golden State’s most impactful player in the Finals after Curry, he may have saved himself a lot of money.

If the Warriors were to lock him down now, they might need to at least keep his annual salary neutral going forward. There now should be plenty of interest in him from around the league when he becomes a free agent in 2023, which could make him more likely to test the market.

Draymond Green will be eligible to extend for a contract that could pay him up to an average of $35 million annually. An extension of that amount would finally make him properly paid in the league. A deal that aligns him with Curry’s contract would make sense for both sides.

Klay Thompson is also extension-eligible but it’s unclear where the Warriors prioritize his contractual situation given his injury history and the increasing costs to afford the rest of the roster.

Re-sign top free agents

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Kevon Looney is set to become a free agent and it will be interesting to see if he drummed up enough interest league wide for a bidding war to commence for him. When the Warriors drafted James Wiseman, there may have been a hope that he can develop quickly enough that they could then salary dump Looney to save money against the tax. Now he’s solidified his place in the Warriors rotation and culture, and they’ll likely want him back.

Offers for Looney could start at the $6.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception (MLE), which is slightly more than he’s been earning. It’ll be interesting to see how high the Warriors are willing to go to bring him as they won’t have any limitations on a contract for him since they have his full Bird rights. There are several teams that need another center and many have the full $10.3 million non-taxpayer MLE to offer.

The Warriors wisely signed the right veteran role players to minimum deals but also got very lucky that all of them panned out. They are especially fortunate that Otto Porter signed with them for the minimum when he certainly had a market greater than that in the 2021 offseason. He is the one important role player who the Warriors could have a hard time bringing back.

The most Golden State can offer Porter is the taxpayer MLE. After that they can only give him up to a $3.1 million starting salary through his Non Bird rights. If the market for Porter exceeds the taxpayer mid-level exception, the Warriors may not have a chance to bring him back. At the same time, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Porter re-signs with the Warriors on a one-plus-one with a player option for year two, allowing him to accrue Early Bird rights and re-sign with the Warriors in 2023 to a market value deal.

Gary Payton II is the other key Warriors’ bench player who is expected to have a strong market. Despite being waived right before the start of the regular season, he will have Early Bird rights since no team claimed or signed him before the Warriors re-signed him. This will allow them to match just about any reasonable offer he can get, including ones at the non-taxpayer MLE.

Projecting their luxury tax payment

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The Warriors are set to pay a luxury tax payment of $170.3 million for the 2021-22 season, which gives them a $346.2 million payroll and luxury tax combination for the roster. They had such a large payment because they were subject to higher tax rates since they are in the repeater tax, and they will continue to be in it for the foreseeable future. However, it’s possible the Warriors bring back key role players and fill out the roster while having a luxury tax payment within the vicinity of last year’s $170 million payment.

They are heading into the offseason $24.2 million over the luxury tax projected at $149 million with nine players, including the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft. That already gives them an $85.3 million luxury tax payment, and it will rise to at least $125 million by virtue of reaching the 14-player minimum roster requirements.

It seems like a good bet that at least one of Looney or Payton II return, both of whom could get starting salaries in the taxpayer MLE range. Assuming no other Warriors are moved, re-signing just one of them could add an additional $30 million to their luxury tax payment. Re-signing both could make their payment exceed $150 million, and would likely reach the $180 million range if they fill the rest of the roster with minimum signings. A payment in the $180-190 million range could be viewed as reasonable considering they just reached the finals with a $170 million payment.

Last year they didn’t use the taxpayer MLE mainly because they couldn’t land one of their preferred targets, including Patty Mills. If the right player is available for the taxpayer MLE, which could include bringing back Porter, they could consider making such a signing if they feel it raises their title odds. However, a line could be drawn on using the $6.4 taxpayer MLE on top of bringing back Looney and Payton II. In that scenario, their luxury tax payment could reach $225 million, which could give them a payroll and luxury tax combination north of $420 million.

Estimating their 2023-24 luxury tax is tricky right now as it has a lot of variance due to potential new deals for Wiggins, Poole, and Green. If they keep just about everybody discussed, their roster could cost north of $500 million that year.

2022-23 SALARY SITUATION

Guaranteed salaries: $173,274,332

Non-guaranteed salaries: $0

Total salary: $173,274,332

Luxury tax space: $24.3 million over the luxury tax ($85.3 million tax payment)

Exceptions:

Taxpayer Mid-level: $6,392,000

Eric Paschall trade exception: $1,782,621 (expires July 7, 2022)

Stephen Curry

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $48,070,014

Remaining salary guaranteed: $215,353,662 through 2025-26

Klay Thompson

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $40,600,080

Remaining salary guaranteed: $83,819,520 through 2023-24

Additional notes: Thompson has a 15 percent trade bonus that would raise his salary to a maximum contract if traded.

Andrew Wiggins

Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $33,616,770

Remaining salary guaranteed: $33,616,770

Additional notes: Wiggins is extension-eligible from July 6, 2022 through June 30, 2023 for up to four years, $172.2 million.

Draymond Green

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $25,806,469

Remaining salary guaranteed: $53,392,693 through 2023-24

Additional notes: Green is extension-eligible starting August 3, 2022 through the day before the regular season for up to three years, $107.3 million. He could also extend for up to four years, $138.7 million through June 30, 2022, provided he declines his $27.6 million player option for 2023-24.

Green has a 15 percent trade bonus that would raise his 2022-23 salary by $3.9 million if traded during the offseason.

James Wiseman

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $9,603,360

Remaining salary guaranteed: $21,722,800 (assuming team option for 2023-24 gets picked up)

Jonathan Kuminga

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $5,739,840

Remaining salary guaranteed: $19,388,987 through 2024-25 (assuming team options on last two seasons are picked up)

Jordan Poole

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $3,901,399

Remaining salary guaranteed: $3,901,399

Additional notes: Poole is eligible to sign a rookie-scale extension through the day before the regular season.

Moses Moody

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 salary: $3,740,160

Remaining salary guaranteed: $13,461,909 through 2024-25 (assuming team options on last two seasons are picked up)

Kevon Looney

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Cap hold: $9,839,287

Type of free agent: Bird (unrestricted)

Additional notes: Looney can still avoid free agency and extend with the Warriors by June 30, 2022 for up to four years, $55.6 million.

Juan Toscano-Anderson

Feb 20, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (95) stands on the court before the start of the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Chase Center.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Cap hold: $2,126,991

Type of free agent: Bird (restricted)

Nemanja Bjelica

Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Non Bird (unrestricted)

Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

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Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Non Bird (unrestricted)

Damion Lee

Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors

Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Bird (unrestricted)

Gary Payton II

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Early Bird (unrestricted)

Otto Porter

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Non Bird (unrestricted)

Chris Chiozza

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Cap hold: $1,616,044

Type of free agent: Non Bird (restricted)

Quinndary Weatherspoon

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Cap hold: $1,616,044

Type of free agent: Non Bird (restricted)

2022 Pick No. 28

2022-23 salary: $2,196,240

Remaining salary guaranteed: $11,279,744 through 2025-26 (assuming team options on last two seasons are picked up)

Additional notes: HoopsHype and ForTheWin’s draft expert Bryan Kalbrosky has Golden State selecting Dalen Terry with the 28th overall selection in his most recent mock draft. Kalbrosky also has Kendall Brown ranked as the 28th best prospect in his most recent big board.

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