Report: Warriors GM has permission to do whatever it takes to keep star players
The Golden State Warriors may end up not being able to keep soon-to-be free agents Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins this summer, but it sounds like an unwillingness to spend will have nothing to do with them losing any of the three.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote on Monday that there is a belief around the NBA that Golden State’s ownership group has given general manager Bob Myers the authority to “offer whatever is necessary” to keep the team’s entire core intact going forward. That would, in theory, mean offering both Durant and Thompson max contract extensions. The situation with Cousins is a bit more complicated.
Durant is eligible for a five-year extension worth around $221 million, and Thompson can cash in for roughly $190 million over five years. The Warriors already signed Stephen Curry to a record $201 million deal in July 2017, so it goes without saying that their luxury tax bill would be astronomical if they keep Durant, Curry and Thompson. Cousins, however, may end up leaving as a free agent if he follows the money.
The Warriors only have Cousins’ non-Bird Rights, so they can offer him up to 120 percent of his 2018-19 salary, which would be $6.4 million. Another team could offer Cousins a four-year max contract of around $140 million. Marc Stein of the New York Times recently reported that there’s a theory Cousins could stick around for one more year in Golden State and sign a long-term contract in 2020, when he’s eligible for more money as a 10-year NBA veteran. However, that would be a risky gamble for a player coming off a torn Achilles who may be able to secure a max contract sooner.
Thompson seems unlikely to leave the Warriors, and there have been hints that he may even be willing to give them a hometown discount. Durant might be more of a risk to leave because of all the drama involving him and Draymond Green earlier in the year, but it will be tough for him to turn down $220 million.
The Warriors will move into a new state-of-the-art arena next year, and it sounds like money is no object at this point. That insane luxury tax bill we have been hearing about for nearly two years may actually become a reality.