LeBron James is coming to the Golden State Warriors in 2014. Screw your offseason plans. Scratch out your elaborate salary cap loophole structures and just scribble out a crown. That's it.
If only it were that simple.
As of this moment, it doesn't appear the Warriors will spend much money this year and with extensions coming up in the future, they might not be spending much on a free agent. Although all those might be false—Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson coming off the books opens up many options—the upcoming season is interesting in that not only are the Warriors true contenders in the Western Conference for the first time in half a decade, but that the salary-cap numbers will dictate moves.
The questions mostly stem from two roster moves the team made in 2011-12 that have left $20 million in dead money linked to Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. The Warriors are already at the edge of the luxury tax before factoring in a single dollar for Jack, an unrestricted free agent, and Landry, who could become one by declining a $4 million player option. The books are much cleaner after the 2013-14 season, when the Biedrins-Jefferson detritus expires, along with deals for Bogut and Brandon Rush.2 They also slid under the tax this season by dumping Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler at the trade deadline, a slick move that cost them minimal talent (and a bit of cash) and allowed them to avoid triggering the repeater tax countdown.3
A common argument is the "it's not my money, the Warriors should spend however much it is to remain contenders". I understand that to an extent, but there's also the case that the Warriors did try and spend this money to immediately contend and found themselves haphazardly chasing DeAndre Jordan, trying to overpay a player that was never going to leave Los Angeles. There are reasons to spend money but to pigeon-hole dollar signs as a factor that shouldn't concern fans because we are entitled to a contending team is perhaps a bit misleading. I'm all for re-signing Jarrett Jack but if management feels the need to keep that cap space next year to sign a free agent and extend Klay Thompson—without telling us, of course—it's hard to second-guess that.
While the "it's not my money" trope is warranted—especially when you look across the Bay at the San Francisco Giants spending a billion dollars locking up Buster Posey and Matt Cain—this is a different sport and concerns with a salary cap structure that is built to hypothetically partite the league is warranted when trying to build a sustainable model.
I won't snippet the rest of the story for you because it's all there in the link, but the most interesting and critical segment of his piece relied on the notion that progression is a fickle object. As fans, we expect Y to happen after X and everything will assuredly equal to the ultimate sum. More often that not, this linear equation is littered with variables, like poor management, coaching and injuries. Injuries will be a concern regardless of how training camp or preseason reports show that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut have rehabbed. Although Bob Myers has done a great job, it's still only been two seasons. He's done many great things but the challenge this year is to piece his roster in a way that fits with the philosophies of Mark Jackson. What if Jarrett Jack goes to another team for more money? What if Carl Landry opts out? Where is the regular season depth if Curry or Bogut goes down again? These are questions that don't require immediate answers now or in the foreseeable future but it stands to show the fickle nature of promise in basketball. It was quickly taken away in 2007 when Jason Richardson was traded for Brandan Wright and while the two teams are wholly different, it's possible the Warriors may take a few steps back due to bad luck.
And damnit, haven't we heard that before.