8. Andrew Bogut: two years, $27.35 million
7. Andris Biedrins: two years, $18 million
6. Richard Jefferson: two years, $21.2 million
Hold on, we have to wait for the Warriors fans to stop screaming.
(Couple more seconds.)
And we're good. This was a dramedy of errors that, collectively, seemed very Warriorsish. First, their decision to amnesty Charlie Bell (over just buying him out) so they could give DeAndre Jordan (no. 27 on this list, mind you) an overpriced offer sheet was unfathomable, especially when they had Biedrins (three years, $27 million remaining) doing everything short of carrying a "PLEASE AMNESTY ME" sign into games. Their decision to turn Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh into the Bogut/Jefferson contracts wasn't indefensible — just super-risky — and so far it's failed about as badly as any trade that doesn't include the words "Andrew Bynum." Bogut looks like he's physically breaking down, and that's being kind.
But here's the real killer. Multiple sources have told me that, when Oklahoma City's Sam Presti decided to shop James Harden, Golden State was his first call. He wanted Klay Thompson and a pick. The Warriors would only consider the trade if Oklahoma City took back Biedrins or Jefferson for 2013 expirings, knowing they'd get crushed by the luxury tax in 2014 with Harden's extension plus Steph Curry's extension plus David Lee plus Bogut/Jefferson/Biedrins.13 At that point, Presti went to Washington (offering Harden for Bradley Beal, and unbelievably getting turned down), then Houston (where the shopping heated up). Presti never ended up calling Golden State back.
Really, the Warriors were felled by New Owner Syndrome. I like Joe Lacob — in the long run, he'll be fine. But when you give competitive billionaires an NBA team, they're rarely (if ever) patient. They want to win right away, and they're always going to plow ahead with a couple of risky/splashy moves because they don't know any better yet. Wyc Grousbeck, Mark Cuban, Ted Leonsis, Dan Gilbert … name a new-wave owner who wasn't a cheapskate (I'm looking at you, Robert Sarver) and I guarantee they battled New Owner Syndrome. For Lacob, the DeAndre/Bell and Bogut/Jefferson moves were his N.O.S. moments. Remember, Dr. Jerry Buss once made Mitch Kupchak the highest-paid forward in basketball — that was one of the original N.O.S. moments. You can't fight it off unless you're an unredeeming skinflint of a cheapskate. (Again, staring right at you, Robert Sarver.)