The Warriors are paying quite the premium for a team that entered Thursday as the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record.
Golden State did save $11 million at the NBA trade deadline by moving the contracts of Brad Wanamaker and Marquese Chriss, while also creating two trade exceptions, but the Warriors still are dealing with a staggeringly high luxury tax bill. Plus, if they choose to re-sign wing Kelly Oubre Jr. this offseason, it could add upwards of $80 million to that tax bill.
How, do the Warriors navigate building a winning roster while dealing with luxury-tax ramifications? General manager Bob Myers broke it down to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami recently on the "TK Show."
"I've been fortunate enough to work with Joe [Lacob] and Peter [Guber] where winning has always been the number one goal, the number one mission," Myers said. "Kind of how we move forward in all our decisions. But at the same time as you've seen, it's not 'spend recklessly.' This year we didn't use the DPE (disabled player exception), didn't find a reason to use it, didn't think it was worth it to use it, didn't have the opportunity to use it. It doesn't mean you spend something just because you have it. That's the question, and it always has been with Joe in regards to 'why are we spending this?' It's not a 'no.'
"Some owners set a ceiling for their payroll. They say, 'I'm not gonna go into the tax.' Obviously Joe hasn't said that because we're very deep in the tax. ... The response from him is, 'Does it help us win?' Now as we move forward, the salary gets larger and larger with the luxury-tax repeater. So we have to be a little bit smarter with how use our money, how we spend our money.
"We'll see when the time comes if it's a move Joe believes makes a lot of sense and the economic ramifications are there but worth it, he'll usually do it. Again, not to no end."
The two trade exceptions could be used in the offseason as the Warriors look to re-tool ahead of Klay Thompson's return. Myers and Co. are looking to win now, as they made clear by holding onto Oubre at the trade deadline. At the same time, they know they need young players like James Wiseman, Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion to develop this season to be more successful in the future.
The Warriors aren't unrealistic. They know Steph Curry and Draymond Green's ages (33 and 31, respectively), and Thompson has missed two straight seasons to injuries. This front office wants to win, and, of course, isn't happy with how the last two seasons have gone.
Does that mean making a big trade? What about bringing back Oubre despite the luxury tax bill?
Myers made it clear Lacob and others aren't afraid to still make big moves.
"We know we're in a window here," Myers said. "We know the team we have, and we want to be a team that can possibly contend, and I know Joe's committed to trying to do that."