The Warriors salary cap issues could make them a one-hit wonder

5/30/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

An exhilarating playoff run gave spoiled Bay Area sports fans another reason to cheer but Warriors fans may have to jump right back on the Giants, A's, and 49ers bandwagons if their basketball team takes a step back next season.

Apr 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA;  Golden State Warriors forward Richard Jefferson (44) before game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsThe biggest issue that the Dubs have to deal with is their salary situation.  At $69 million, their payroll was $11,6 million over the cap and just a drop below the luxury tax level.  And next year, despite the expiration of Jarrett Jack's contract, the Warriors salary will balloon up to $75 million.

Two contracts will haunt the Warriors if salary problems force them to regress next season.  Richard Jefferson, who picked up a player option worth $11 million for next year just yesterday, and Andris Biedrins, who chose to stick around for $9 million next year, are weighing the whole roster down.

Brandon Rush and Carl Landry have $4 million player options and next season Steph Curry's extension will kick in, bumping his salary from $3.9 million up to $9.8 million. 

All of this means that the Warriors lack flexibility and will likely lose Jarrett Jack if they are unable to make more room.  The relatively new ownership group seems committed to putting a winning product on the floor, so there's always a chance they could suck it up and sacrifice their money in the form of the luxury tax, but even if they do, it would likely only be for one year in order to avoid the impending and terrifying"repeater" tax.  

Jack was integral to the Warriors success because he could create his own offense and spelled Curry at the point, allowing him to play off the ball and to rest.  They could find a decent back up point guard, but they will have a hard time replacing Jack, who will have offers for more money and a starting gig somewhere else.  

With the new tax rules in the NBA, there are certain teams that have planned to be contract absorbers.  Teams like Atlanta and Cleveland are in positions where they could take on a bad contract if the Warriors wanted to give them a young asset, but the whole point is that the Warriors are trying to keep improving, not ship off their talent for cap space alone.

Besides the salary issues and roster inflexibility, the Warriors also are without a draft pick this year, which may hurt them even more.  Over the last few years, the Dubs biggest competitive advantage has been in the draft, where their front office has put the rest of the league to shame since 2009.  

The hope is that the team we saw in May is what the Warriors actually are.  Maybe the Harrison Barnes we saw in the playoffs, and not the one with a regular season PER of 11, is the real Harrison Barnes.  Maybe Andrew Bogut and Steph Curry can stay healthy for a full season.
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5/30/13   |   Wards_Page   |   248 respect

Why do the Warriors always find themselves in a position where they can't afford to keep key players. So frustrating. Losing a guy like Jarrett Jack would really hurt. Jefferson and Biedrins they couldn't give away. Ugh.