Plenty has been said and written about what a crucial offseason this would be for the Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry may be here to stay, which gives the Warriors a leg up in their retooling process. But at age 35, the Warriors know that Curry won’t be at the top of his game forever, which makes it imperative for them to build the best team they can to give their superstar a shot at a fifth ring.
Nevertheless, the Warriors will find it extremely difficult to surround their team with additional talent given their cap sheet situation. Barring a major move, the Warriors will be shelling out unprecedented amounts in luxury tax payments; such is the price of sustained title contention, which definitely was well worth it for them, but as always, the bill comes due.
Thus, acquiring impact free agents may be difficult, especially when the new CBA rules will prohibit any team above the second tax apron from utilizing the taxpayer midlevel exception. As one would recall, this is the cap quirk the Warriors used to sign Donte DiVincenzo last offseason, and DiVincenzo turned out to be an important role player for them throughout the season.
With that said, it seems like the most realistic way for the Warriors to continue competing is by re-signing their own free agents. Bird rights will be the Dubs’ bestfriend this offseason, as that cap provision would allow them to retain their key free agents, at the cost of additional luxury tax payments. As a result, the Dubs must be shrewd with who they re-sign. Here are those two players they must not let go of.
During the 2022 NBA playoffs, there were stretches were Draymond Green, the heart and soul of the Warriors’ title-winning teams, looked lost on the court. His offensive production has eroded to the point where his defensive impact couldn’t keep him on the court for crucial periods. But still, Green came through for the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, stepping up in the final few games of the series against the Boston Celtics and winning it all for the fourth time in eight seasons.
Still, Green’s alarming lack of offensive production, as well as his age, gave the Warriors some pause regarding a potential contract extension heading into the 2022-23 season. Losing a step meant that Green, one of the all-time great defenders, could lose most of what has made him such an impactful player, and inking him to a huge deal would have been disastrous.
Thus, the Warriors, with an eye towards the future, focused on extending Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, which signaled that the Dubs may be preparing for a Draymond Green-less future. Even Green acknowledged that his time in the Bay may be up.
But as the Warriors quickly discovered, Green remains one of their most valuable players; as he showed in the 2023 NBA playoffs, Green’s defensive smarts, ability to pick his spots on offense, and unselfishness on the court make him such an invaluable member of the team — an irreplaceable part of their squad.
Even head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that the Warriors are not “championship contenders” without Green, and it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment.
Re-signing Green will cost the Warriors a lot of money in luxury tax payments. Thus, if they were to retain his services, either Klay Thompson or Jordan Poole may have to go, with the latter more likely to give way due to his frayed relationship with Green.
Signing Donte DiVincenzo didn’t inspire much fanfare this past offseason; after all, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to trade him away after an uninspiring return from injury in 2022, and he ended the year toiling away for a Sacramento Kings team that was without its two stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
But DiVincenzo, by virtue of playing for one of the most famous franchises in the NBA, has emerged as one of the better, more underrated role players in the NBA, and he fits the Warriors’ style of play like hand and glove. DiVincenzo also became one of the few members of the Warriors roster who Steve Kerr could rely on in the playoffs.
The 26-year old guard, however, may be looking for a more lucrative deal in free agency than what the Warriors can offer, since they do not own his full Bird rights. The Warriors will be hoping that DiVincenzo opts into his contract for next year, as by then, they will have his Early Bird rights which would at least allow them to offer him a better contract.
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