This season could be the Warriors' last dance
The start of the NBA season signifies a new beginning for a number of teams — and perhaps the beginning of the end for a notable one.
Driving the news: The defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, signed Jordan Poole ($140 million) and Andrew Wiggins ($109 million) to four-year extensions last Sunday ahead of Tuesday night's opener against the LA Lakers.
Why it matters: These deals set the stage for Draymond Green — a Golden State cornerstone since being drafted in 2012, and a centerpiece of the franchise's historic dynasty — to possibly depart at the end of this season.
State of play: The Warriors don't need to make any decisions right now as they enter the season with the league's highest payroll ($193.4 million payroll) and third-best title odds (+700, via FanDuel).
- But these signings — and the massive luxury tax bill that comes with them — means they'll likely have to cut salaries at some point. These salary cuts may come as soon as this year's trade deadline in February, but more likely next offseason.
- Moving on from Green, who has a $27.5 million player option next season that will cost Golden State infinitely more in luxury tax payments, is the most obvious solution, likely via trade.
The backdrop: The Warriors have been vocal for years about bridging their current success with future triumph, all while managing their ballooning payroll.
- "It was always the likeliest that this was headed to a zero-sum dollar decision for the future: Poole or Draymond," writes The Athletic's Tim Kawakami ($).
- When Green punched Poole at practice earlier this month, it may have crystallized their fates.
The bottom line: The Warriors aren't saying it, but there's reason to believe this season will be "The Last Dance" for the legendary trio of Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.