Triumph of the game… and the money: why the Golden State Warriors cringe in the NBA

The coronation of Golden State is that of a genius: Stephen Curry. That of a team, each member of which should be mentioned. That of the long-term vision of an organization, in the midst of “super-teams” whose express creation is rarely crowned with success. That of the perseverance of a Klay Thompson with a body bruised by injuries. That of the loyalty of a hard core of which Steve Kerr and Draymond Green are an integral part. That of the most expensive workforce in the NBA, too.

$175 million. This sum places the Warriors at the top of the payroll rankings for the 2021-2022 season, according to the specialized site spotrac, for the second time in a row. Next are the Los Angeles Clippers ($164M), who did not make the playoffs in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, the Brooklyn Nets ($158M), swept away in the first round, the Milwaukee Bucks ($154M), supporters of the title eliminated in the 2nd round, and the Los Angeles Lakers ($148M), on vacation for a long time. Proof that money isn’t everything.


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Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) had very different seasons

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346M$, “luxury tax” included

This hierarchy can fluctuate depending on the source, in particular due to whether or not the salaries paid to “cut” players are taken into account. But Golden State is an undisputed number 1, ahead of the many entities that peak above the $112.4 million “salary cap” and even the $136.6 million “luxury tax” threshold, which involves financial penalties. Thus, the salary budget is not only 175 million, for the co-owners of the San Francisco Bay franchise, in charge since 2010, a year after Curry’s arrival in the NBA.

The cost of salaries to be assumed by the duo Joe Lacob – Peter Guber, taxes included, is estimated at $346 million. To regain his kingdom, which was recorded Thursday after the sixth game of the Finals in Boston, Golden State did not skimp on the means. The Warriors have taken advantage of the multiple exceptions that make it possible to break the fragile salary cap in force in the NBA (a “soft cap”, and not a “hard cap”, as it exists). Three of their players are earning over $30M this season.

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Wiggins? “Nobody wanted him”

The only unanimous MVP in NBA history (in 2016), finally MVP of the Finals, Stephen Curry is the best paid in the league, in 2021-2022 ($ 45.8 million). Klay Thompson comes in at $38M, Andrew Wiggins at $31.6M and Draymond Green at $24M. The Curry-Thompson-Green trio is the result of an exemplary detection and training policy. Wiggins is the result of shrewd management of Kevin Durant’s departure in 2019. An addition of great sporting relevance, as he proved against the Celtics.

But there is therefore this pecuniary “but”, which generates tensions, even if the tax for which the Warriors are liable will be partly redistributed between the other franchises. In an article on ESPNthe journalist Zach Lowe evoked ten days ago, the latent discontent aroused by the finances of the Warriors: “Golden State’s rivals are already complaining about a competitive advantage, when it comes to spendingBob Myers, the GM of the champions, insists on the process behind the rain of tickets: “We drafted a lot of these guys, we developed them, it’s not like we signed them as free agents.”

Andrew Wiggins, 2022 NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors… and an important role in this title

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A lot of money spent… but also earned

Myers adds, during the radio show The Morning Roastas reported by CBS Sports : “When we made a trade for Andrew [Wiggins] (in February 2020, Ed), nobody wanted him, nobody said anything at that time.” The prominence of the Canadian winger at the end of this playoff campaign will undoubtedly contribute to cringe, given that he carries the label of an expensive patch within the “Dub Nation”. and its “luxury tax” record.

However, it’s not just money coming out of the Warriors coffers. There are also some who enter, abundantly. Golden State remains a thriving business, according to Forbes’ 2021 review. 5 billion from the New York Knicks. In terms of operating income, no one did better than the Warriors two years ago in the Big League: 200 million dollars.

The Chase Center, a new profitable setting for the Golden State Warriors

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Lacob had warned

Since moving from Oakland to San Francisco in 2019, they have owned their venue: the Chase Center. This is not the case with all franchises. Saying goodbye to the Oracle Arena, a place steeped in history, notably the scene of the epic “We Believe” of 2007, then the titles of 2015, 2017 and 2018, was a hell of a bet. It was initially accompanied by bad luck, the injuries of major players accumulating in the ranks of the “Warriors”, but it ended up proving… paying.

Pointing fingers at Warriors accounts is not tantamount to suing them. To own an NBA franchise, you have to have money. To win, it is better to be ready to spend some, depending on the expected return on investment. At the beginning of 2015, a few months before the advent of his institution at the pinnacle of US basketball, Lacob explained in the columns of Mercury Newsabout the “luxury tax” hanging in his face: “I don’t think we have any other choice.”

And four for Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry: the Golden State Warriors are back at the top of the NBA – 06/16/2022

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Is the NBA doing its job?

“To pay this tax? It is not something desirable, then estimated the billionaire businessman, who made his fortune by investing in more than fifty “start-ups”. But we can’t worry about it, that’s not the problem. The problem is to be the best possible team and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that.“. His speech was followed by facts. Golden State plays with the rules imposed on it, takes advantage of having a big market. If there is a question of justice or injustice to raise, it is more to the “commissioner” Adam Silver that it is necessary to turn.

The NBA is a closed league. It must therefore guarantee the interest of its competition through self-regulation mechanisms. The draft is one, which the Warriors have exploited remarkably well. The salary cap is another, whose largesse they remarkably exploit. The chemistry that cemented the Golden State dynasty cannot be measured in dollars, and it would be pejorative to minimize its merit, but the financial aspect of his reclaiming the throne is significant.

The “Splash Bro” Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (Golden State) are again NBA champions: the Warriors finished the job Thursday in Boston – 06/16/2022

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