Golden State Warriors

Warriors $5.9 million mid-level exception would cost nearly $30 million in salary, taxes

Next season is a big one for the Golden State Warriors, and many fans and observers figured the club would go big in free agency. General manager Bob Myers has only signed a handful of players to minimum deals, however, forgoing his $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception.

That exception is the Warriors’ best way to acquire a solid free agent, so why haven’t they used it? The answer is painfully clear: Golden State’s salary cap is stretched far beyond the maximum and team-owner Joe Lacob is paying a boatload of luxury tax already.

And those taxes increase with every bit of salary added to the roster. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau, the current Warriors roster would cost $350 million in salary and luxury tax. Adding a player for $5.9 million will actually cost Golden State more than $29 million.

Assuming the Warriors cut guard Gary Payton II before his contract becomes guaranteed Wednesday, they would see the total price of their roster spike to $379.4 million if they spend their full mid-level. This means that whomever Golden State could sign to that mid-level effectively would cost the franchise more than $29 million in salary and luxury taxes.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

This means that any player signed at the MLE would have to be a heavy hitter that would make a huge impact on the Warriors. There were painfully few free-agent targets that fit that description and would sign for less than market value.

But the Warriors already have three veteran heavy hitters in Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Plus, former Warriors NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala signed for the veteran’s minimum, which could help off the court as well as on. It will be up to them to school an increasingly young roster so role players are in place for a title run. Lacob is certainly paying enough salary to his superstars to anticipate that happening, even without the coveted MLE.

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