Everything is going fairly well for the Golden State Warriors at the NBA All-Star break. The team has the second-best record in the NBA, has superstar guard Klay Thompson back from injury after he missed more than two years of action, and Thompson’s Splash Brother, Stephen Curry, shot the lights out during Sunday’s All-Star game.
But there are always issues to be mindful of on a professional sports team. The Warriors are waiting on the return of forward Draymond Green, for example. The vital cog in Golden State’s machine has a back injury that’s kept him out for about a month and will ground him for nearly as long moving forward.
Plus, second-year center James Wiseman has yet to return, either. But there are more issues if we look past this season –namely the swollen salary cap figures for the Warriors and general manager Bob Myers.
That will always be the case when Thompson, Curry, and Green are on the team. The three-time champions all demand and deserve a high salary. And with All-Star forward Andrew Wiggins also highly paid — and due a contract extension after next season — Myers has to look ahead and make some tough decisions, probably regarding Wiggins.
Connor Letourneau dissected all of that and more in his recent article for the San Francisco Chronicle, and I fully recommend reading it. But the above-listed players aren’t the only roster pieces worth keeping — or mulling over at the very least.
For instance, what about Jordan Poole? Letourneau covered that in his article as well, reaching out to Spotrac’s Keith Smith, who put an estimated number on what kind of contract extension Poole can expect before he hits free agency in 2023.
The Warriors also will try to sign Poole to a multiyear extension this summer, which would allow them to avoid having to deal with him in restricted free agency in 2023. Keith Smith, a salary-cap expert for Spotrac, estimates that deal to be in the four-year, $80 million range.Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle
Essentially, the Warriors’ salary cap number is so high that it will be impossible — even with team owner Joe Lacobs’s deep pockets — to keep everyone in a Golden State uniform. So a homegrown talent such as Poole will be a bargain at that amount projected by Smith.
As you can probably infer, Wiggins will likely be the odd man out, despite his stellar performance as a Warrior thus far. But anything is possible, especially with Myers. (Check out Letourneau’s article for that aspect.) Even if Wiggins isn’t retained, he could be traded away much the same way that Myers traded D’Angelo Russell for Wiggins in the first place.
Regardless, Poole will be expected to take another leap forward in the near future, despite how much he’s improved already. He, Wiggins and the rest of the Warriors’ roster pieces besides their big three have the rest of the regular season and playoffs to prove themselves to management — and the rest of the NBA in case Myers has to go dealing in the trade market to get that salary cap in line during the offseason.