Despite the pleas of the fan base, chances of the Warriors adding reinforcement through all or part of their $5.9 million taxpayer midlevel player exception this summer get dimmer each day and likely will go dark by opening night.
After that? Maybe, according to team president Bob Myers.
“We still may use it, depends on how things shake out as the season goes on,” Myers said on Friday. “I don’t think we’ll use it on what’s left in free agency. I don’t see that happening, although you never know.”
Though Myers said the reluctance stems mostly from the exponential cost, which with luxury-tax payments could put the total blow to the payroll around $25 million, it’s reasonable to conclude some of the reticence is not influenced by the steep price paid to acquire Kelly Oubre Jr. last November.
The cost of adding Oubre to the roster, which included his $15 million salary and with the luxury-tax payments that came with it, pushed the cost around $70 million. That’s massive investment for a one-year deal made shortly after the Warriors knew Klay Thompson would miss a second consecutive season.
The sting of this was made more painful by the fact that the Warriors failed to advance beyond the play-in tournament – and got nothing in return when Oubre left for the Charlotte Hornets.
“We’re aware of the things we do that work and some that don’t,” Myers said. “We don’t ignore those things. But I don’t know that it made us gun shy to use it this year.
“(The failed Oubre experiment) didn’t give us pause. We thought at the time that it was the right to do and we did it. And in many ways, it did work. In some ways, like not making the playoffs, it was hard for all of us.”
To overpay one year is one thing, to do it again the very next year is to risk feeling the fool – particularly considering there was division within the team’s brain trust regarding the decision to trade for Oubre.
Myers acknowledged the team did not address all of its need in free agency and the draft. Though pleased with new veterans Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bejelica, as well as incoming rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the roster remains unfinished.
Which is why there remains the possibility of reaching for the TPMLE, even though at least two players spurned it during free-agent moratorium period.
“We put it out there, but we weren’t going to put it out there without some level of discernment,” Myers said. “We tried.
“Ultimately, after a few guys went off the board, we held it in check. Doesn’t mean we can’t use it, or won’t. Might be in the buyout market if it gets competitive and there’s a player we want. There’s a restraint we need to exercise.”
Rarely has restraint been a staple of the Warriors under the soaring ambitions of CEO Joe Lacob, known to be a big proponent in acquiring Oubre. It’s there now, for all to see.
Because Lacob thinks big, there is a pretty good chance the Warriors reach for the best card they have left if they are playing well and find themselves in need after midseason.