The Warriors (5-21) lost at home to the lowly Knicks on Wednesday and have the worst record in the NBA.
The 2019-20 season "doesn't matter" in that the Dubs are not going to win the title and they are not going to the playoffs.
But what transpires this year absolutely matters in the long-term. When it comes to player development, the franchise needs to find out what they have and determine who they want to keep moving forward.
Additionally, the organization has the opportunity to avoid the luxury tax for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
To recap -- Golden State paid the tax in 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19. When you do that three times in a four-year span, you then have to pay "repeater tax" penalties if you make it four times in five years. (Basically, the organization would write an even bigger check to the league.)
But if the Warriors find a way to duck below it by July 1, they also would automatically avoid being a "repeater tax" team in 2020-21 -- which would save Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and the rest of ownership a lot of dough.
How much exactly? Well, as John Hollinger of The Athletic writes:
While the Warriors have cash pouring in from the brand new Chase Center, people who are making money still like to make more money.
If they use the Iguodala exception and their taxpayer mid-level exception, and add a first-round pick near the top of the draft, Golden State’s payroll next season could reach $175 million or more, which would trigger a gigantic $108 million luxury tax bill. The repeater would add $34 million on top of that.
Lacob has proven to be somebody who is more than willing to pay whatever is necessary to compete for a championship. But the Dubs aren't in that position this season.
So it would make perfect sense if general manager Bob Myers is able to execute some trades before the Feb. 7 deadline that puts the Warriors closer to the tax threshold (they are about $6 million above) or completely under.
As ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on Nov. 4 when discussing veteran players such as Alec Burks, Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson III:
"Some of these guys that they've signed, I don't think they really have much use anymore. I think we're gonna see the Warriors make a series of trades. They're all gonna seem minor in the short-term, but I think we're gonna see them be pretty active messing with this roster going forward."
Also keep in mind that if the Warriors stand pat and keep the roster intact, they could make one big trade in late May (after they find out their draft position) or in late June around the NBA draft.
And don't worry -- they aren't going to make any moves that make the roster worse next season just to save money. This franchise wants to win more than anything, and management will be even hungrier after experiencing this dismal season.
Hollinger sums it up well:
The Warriors have a major financial incentive to get below the tax line because of their likely payroll strategy for next season and the nonexistent stakes remaining in the current one. Keep an eye on them as we get closer to February.
It's going to be fascinating to watch it all unfold.