Draymond Green was recently asked about his uncertain future with the Golden State Warriors, and in a very candid answer, he admitted that his days with the team are likely numbered.
"Quite frankly, the writing is on the wall," Green told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks. "I understand the business. We tend to get into this mindset that someone owes us something because of what we've accomplished. You'd be an idiot to walk around feeling that way. Like, I feel like you're just setting yourself up for failure. You're setting yourself up for heartbreak. You're setting yourself up for disappointment as opposed to saying, 'No, let me learn this business.'
"If you don't get to know the business, then you can be blindsided and be like, 'Oh, man, [after] everything I've done there, I thought I'd be there forever.' I would love to be. I understand the luxury tax. I understand you got these young guys and contracts up, and they have to get paid. Like, I understand all of those things. And so, just for me, that's what I mean by the writing’s on the wall."
Green has a player option for the 2023-24 season (which is worth $27,586,224), meaning he can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Green will turn 33 years old next month, so he's expected to opt out and seek a multi-year deal.
In October, the Warriors opted to give lucrative extensions to Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins — with no new deal for Green. This was the first sign that the Warriors might be preparing to move on from Green, especially since it came shortly after Green punched Poole in practice and video of the incident leaked.
Next season, Stephen Curry ($51,915,615), Klay Thompson ($43,219,440), Poole ($28,705,357) and Wiggins ($24,330,357) will earn a combined $148,170,769. Current projections put the 2023-24 salary cap at $134 million and the luxury tax threshold at $162 million. In other words, Golden State will be significantly over the cap just from paying its Big 4 of Curry, Thompson, Poole and Wiggins.
Throw in Kevon Looney ($8,500,000), James Wiseman ($12,119,440), Jonathan Kuminga ($6,012,840), Moses Moody ($3,918,480), Patrick Baldwin Jr. ($2,337,720) and Ryan Rollins ($1,719,864) and the Warriors' payroll will be $182,779,113 — and that’s before they make any free-agency additions or fill out their roster. Even if Green opts out and signs elsewhere, Golden State will have a huge luxury-tax bill.
Keep in mind that the Warriors' current $190,494,052 payroll is one of the highest in the NBA. They also had the highest payroll last season ($175,858,991) and the year before ($171,105,334). Last year, their luxury-tax bill cost an NBA-record $170,331,194, but it paid off since they won their fourth championship in eight years.
This season, they were hit with the repeater tax (since they have been a taxpayer in three of the last four years), so they are poised to break their own record with a luxury-tax bill of $176,532,601. That means this year's Warriors squad is costing ownership $367,026,653.
While Warriors owner Joe Lacob has spoken out about the “very unfair” luxury-tax system, it’s not going anywhere. Golden State will also be hit with the repeater tax next season too, which significantly increases their luxury-tax bill.
Since the NBA implemented the luxury tax in 2001, the Warriors have been taxed by far the most of any team ($337,841,573). No other team has been taxed over $300 million, and only two other teams have been taxed over $200 million — the Brooklyn Nets ($297,855,872) and New York Knicks ($248,542,987).
The Warriors have shown that they are willing to break the bank, but given their cap sheet and the repeater tax, Green may be right. They may have no choice but to break up their dynastic core.