For more than a full calendar year, the Warriors knew they had a massive $17.2 million trade exception (TPE) at their disposal with which they could use to potentially significantly upgrade the roster. But in the course of just a few hours, their plans for it went out the window.
With what was already the most expensive roster in the league, the Warriors apparently weren't planning on using the TPE at all. But when Klay Thompson went down with a season-ending torn Achilles, everything changed.
"It 100 percent triggered the [Kelly] Oubre trade,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the Bay Area News Group's Wes Goldberg. “I’m not sure we were going to use the TPE if Klay had been healthy. It was more likely that we would have used the mid-level exception, maybe split it up. That’s what we were talking about anyway."
With the TPE, the Warriors were able to acquire any player whose salary for the upcoming season was equal to or less than $17.2 million. Though Oubre will make just over $14 million in 2020-21, the resulting tax penalties will push his total cost to approximately $82 million. That's an enormous investment, and had Thompson not gotten injured, it's understandable why Golden State might not feel the need to use the TPE, particularly considering the impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on the organization's revenue streams.
RELATED: New Warrior Oubre doesn't mince words about Suns owner Sarver
Oubre isn't on Thompson's level as a player, but he's as good of a replacement as the Warriors were going to be able to find, especially on such abrupt notice. They might not have intended to use the TPE, but clearly, it's a good thing they had it in their back pocket.