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Dubs in-depth: How much will the Warriors pay in luxury tax next season?

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The Athletic’s John Hollinger broke down the tax implications for all 30 teams.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob showed he is willing to pay a hefty amount of luxury tax if his team is contending for a championship.

The Warriors had the second highest tax bill after the 2018-19 season, costing the franchise just over $51 million, behind only the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State avoided paying the repeater tax this season, but even if the roster stays the exact same going into 2020-21, the Warriors will pay a hefty price.

This is a result of general manager Bob Myers getting D’Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade. It enabled the Dubs to have the room to add another star down the line (coughs* Giannis), rather than being hard capped going into 2020-21.

Myers was also able to get a $17.2 million trade exception via the Andrew Iguodala deal, but using it all will be costly. The Athletic’s John Hollinger broke down the financial implications of the COVID-19 shutdown on each NBA team’s cap situation.

Here is what Hollinger had to say about the Warriors:

“If the Warriors land in the top four in the draft lottery (fairly likely), utilize the majority of the $17,185,185 Andre Iguodala trade exception, and sign a player with the taxpayer mid-level, they could end up owing the league a jaw-dropping $135 million in tax payments – which is more than all but a handful of teams will owe just for their payroll.”

With the core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green expect back for the 2020-21 season, Lacob owes it to the team to go after another championship. Andrew Wiggins’ contract is an albatross, but could become attractive to another team if packaged with the two high draft picks Golden State will have over the next couple of seasons.

The question for Myers would be if the player they’re acquiring is worth the financial cost. Players like Myles Turner and Aaron Gordon have been mentioned as potential trade targets for the Warriors, and with each of their salaries north of $17.5 million, Lacob would be looking at a little more than the $135 tax bill Hollinger mentioned. If they elect to use some, or none of it, Hollinger says the bill will still be close to $85 million.

We have talked about how important and interesting the offseason will be. Myers will have plenty of options at his disposal to improve the team, but will have to consider the financial implications. Golden State was planning on being flush with the Chase Center opening last season, but the pandemic will have a huge impact on their projected $400 million revenue.

Whether or not Lacob agrees to pay such a heavy cost for the tax depends on how strong the product is on the court. If the roster stays virtually the same, and the Warriors keep their first-round pick plus add Gordon, is it enough to compete for a championship?

Of course, if a certain NBA superstar has his sights set on the Bay Area in 2021, I am sure Lacob will gladly open up his checkbook.

Do you think the Dubs will be willing to pay more than $100 million for the tax bill to add a piece like Turner or Gordon? Or will Lacob look to keep the cost down if he believes the team can’t win another title?


On to some more links:

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died way too soon. Klay Thompson reminisced about on the time he got to spend time at the Mamba’s camp during his high school days.

The Warriors have been interviewing 2020 NBA Draft prospects via Zoom. Before we get too excited, NBC Bay Area’s Drew Shiller reports most the players they have met with are projected to go outside of the lottery.

I might be bias because I am Canadian, but I am hoping Mychal Mulder can carve out his place in the NBA. The Dubs’ guard sat down with Michael Grange of Sportsnet to discuss his journey to the league.

Former Warrior Matt Barnes is better known for his days on the “We Believe” squad rather than being a part of the 2017 title team. Even though he was entitled to one, Barnes never accepted his championship ring. (h/t Fansided’s Josh WIlson)