The Warriors always were going to be a tax-paying team next season, given that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins will combine to cost approximately $120 million against the salary cap. That was back when the cap was projected to be around $115 million -- back before the NBA experienced an unprecedented shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With games not being played and arenas not in operation, the salary cap for the 2020-21 season is going to be negatively impacted. The resulting loss of revenue is expected to significantly lower the cap, perhaps by as much as $15 million. Consequently, tax-paying teams will get a much larger bill.
Logically, many of those teams might try to cut costs this offseason, or at the very least, limit additional expenditures, particularly those that don't necessarily view themselves as legitimate contenders. It remains to be seen where the Warriors will view themselves in that hierarchy, but as tempting as cuttings costs might be, it sounds like they are motivated by a different priority.
While Golden State certainly could entertain a number of cost-saving moves -- such as not using the full value of the tax-payer mid-level exception or the $17.2 million trade exception in free agency, or trading back from one of the top picks in the draft -- the lowering of the cap reportedly is irrelevant to the Warriors' offseason strategy.
"Golden State is unlikely to let a drop in the cap change how it approaches roster-building," the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau wrote Saturday, citing a league source. "[Joe] Lacob realizes that with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all in their early 30s, the Warriors might only have a three- or four-year window to win another title.
"Even if it requires a massive luxury-tax burden, Golden State will do what it can to capitalize on the rest of its core players’ prime years. Anything else would go against what this ownership group has come to represent."
Since Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team in 2012, the Warriors haven't shied away from spending large sums to put a championship-contender on the court. With Curry, Thompson and Green still in their primes, it's easy to understand why they might feel comfortable doing so again.
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