Oct 19, 2022 - Sports

This season could be the Warriors' last dance

Four men smiling holding up four fingers

Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors celebrate with the Bill Russell Finals MVP Trophy after winning Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals. Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

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