Written by: Jacob Ortiz, Owner of Leading Sports Media
The Warriors have been on an absolute tear this season, as expected. It’s likely they’re headed to the Finals this season for the third straight year. Although the Finals have yet to start, it’s never too early to start looking into next season, and to start wondering which players will remain on the Warriors for the 2017-2018 season.
Going into the 2018 season, the Warriors only have five players on contract: Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Damian Jones, Kevon Looney, and Patrick McCaw. These players account for around $38M of the projected $103M salary cap for next year. According to Undisputed’s interview with Kevin Durant, KD will pick up his 1-year $27M player option, which now brings us to $66M out of $103M. With the luxury tax the Warriors can pay, the cap can go up to a maximum $122M.
As we all can infer, it is in the Warriors’ best interest to re-sign Stephen Curry. We’ll assume, after taking multiple pay cuts throughout the years, he cashes out this summer, and signs a 5-year max deal, which will count as $36M towards the Warriors’ 2018 salary cap, bringing it to around $102M out of $122M. With 7 players signed, it’s time to bring in some role players to contribute off the bench.
The two biggest problems for the Warriors are Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
The big men, such as Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee, will be pretty in expensive, or can be replaced, but the big question is, will the Warriors be willing to shell out big bucks for Livingston?He’s 31 and will likely hope to make more than the $5.8M he made this year – he’ll likely have to take a big pay cut to stay with the Warriors. Iguodala made $11M this year and will likely want something similar on the open market. He’s 33 and this will likely be his last decently sized contract in his career. Teams in the league will be able to offer him more than the Warriors can offer due to his experience, leadership and defense. Livingston and Iguodala will have to take pretty significant pay cuts to stay with the Warriors next season.
Another enormous problem for the Warriors could be Kevin Durant’s contract.
The above analysis is completely contingent on Durant staying and picking up his player option. In all likelyhood, Durant could opt out and ask for his max of $36M. This puts $9M more on the books for the Warriors and makes things a bit more tricky.
This mean’s they’ll have used $111M of the total $122M luxury cap to pay their remaining 7 or so players, making it a very small chance Warriors re-sign Iguodala and/or Livingston.
Would trading Klay Thompson or Draymond Green be the way to go? I don’t see that really happening, but it definitely is possible.
There is one foreseeable solution.
There are tons of players that would be glad to come to GS on cheap/veteran/MLE salaries in hopes of winning a championship, for example, Vince Carter. It’s also up to the Warriors to develop their young talent, to get bargains who can contribute, for example, Patrick McCaw.
It’ll be extremely interesting to see how the Warriors’ front office handles this, and whether or not the Warriors’ “dynasty” can continue its reign as one of the NBA’s best.
Huge credit to reddit user, u/fifaman1662, who provided a large amount of the data used for the article.