Golden State Warriors

Report: Warriors payroll plus luxury tax could near $500 million by 2023

The Golden State Warriors just won yet another NBA title, but the financial wheels of the league keep on turning. Already, observers of the franchise are looking ahead to how much it might cost team owner Loe Lacob to keep his championship roster intact.

To no surprise, Lacob’s famous “checkbook” will continue to carry a heavy workload in the months ahead.

The Warriors payroll, with luxury tax included, was already near the $400 million mark, and since Lacob’s high-priced roster won it all, the cost to keep the current squad could approach $500 million. That’s according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who wrote about that among other things in a recent expansive article.

Of course, right now, Myers and Lacob are facing some financial decisions that would crush other teams. The Warriors are already paying a record total payroll commitment (counting luxury tax) of well over $300 million. They have some key free agents this summer who, if re-signed, could take this to $400 million, considering that each new dollar is multiplied by five due to the tax. After that, with even more key players to re-sign, it could verge close to $500 million by July 2023.

What will they do? First, Lacob and Myers are not going to even think about breaking up the core. If they can sign Wiggins to an extension, they’ll do that and happily jump over the $400 million line in two years. If they can’t sign Wiggins, they’ll play it out and will let Wiggins know that they still have every intent to make sure he’s a Warrior for the rest of his career.

Tim Kawakami/The Athletic

As Kawakami notes, forward Andrew Wiggins proved his immense worth to the team in the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals. So his large contract is likely here to stay, and he might even be re-signed by Golden State. Wiggins’ salary, combined with the huge contract figures for the Warriors’ Big 3 of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, make up the bulk of Golden State’s huge payroll.

Plus, there are the contracts of center Kevon Looney and guard Gary Payton II to consider, as well. And that’s not even mentioning G Jordan Poole, who could also be due an extension in the near future.

Also as Kawakami notes, these salary issues could crush other franchises. It’s what led ESPN’s Brian Windhorst to call the Warriors’ Game 5 win in the NBA Finals a “checkbook” win.

Though the Warriors spend a lot of money, as Windhorst sadly needed to point out, take a look at what they’re spending it on. Curry, Thompson, and Green were all drafted by the team, and they’re proven champs. They’ll always give Lacob a chance to win it all, and that’s what he banked on (literally).

Lacob’s great teams keep the money rolling in, too. Especially with the still new Chase Center a prime attraction. Look for Lacob to keep his checkbook wide open and keep his team together. Though they’ll still be smart to an extent since $400 million used to be the high-water mark. But Lacob has said, he’ll pay as long as the team has a chance to win it all. That’s certainly the case with this group moving forward.

UPDATE: Lacob’s checkbook will still do work this season, but not as much as some thought. Though Golden State re-signed Kevon Looney, it lost multiple free agents as the league-wide signing period got underway.

AND ALSO: A replacement for Payton Jr. The Warriors used their taxpayer mid-level to secure the services of guard Donte DiVincenzo.


After much of the free agent dust has settled in Golden State, Lacob still has some tough choices regarding payroll and his top players as 2023 approaches, as detailed in this report from late July. Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle pontificates that the Warriors may have to choose between signing Wiggins or Poole or face a $500 million payroll with the luxury tax.

Barring massive extensions in coming months, guard Jordan Poole and forward Andrew Wiggins will become free agents next summer. To bring those two back at their projected market values while paying Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the rest of the players already on their books, the Warriors could face a total 2023-24 payroll — salaries and luxury taxes — north of $500 million.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

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