In trading Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and future picks for Andre Iguodala and Kevin Murphy (who will likely be waived), the Golden State Warriors not only drastically improved their talent base at the expense of two ineffectual players, but cut salary in the process.
The Iguodala sign-and-trade left the Warriors with sufficient cap space to add Marreese Speights , Toney Douglas and Jermaine O’Neal, while retaining the ability to sign both Kent Bazemore and first-round pick Nemanja Nedovic.
In the pre-Iguodala world, the Warriors appeared to have targeted the offseason before the 2014-15 season as their chance to make significant improvements. With Andrew Bogut, Jefferson and Biedrins’ contracts expiring after 2013-14, the Warriors were set to have only $38 million in guaranteed money for the 2014-15 season, about $24 million in theoretical cap space (not including cap-holds), assuming the $62.1 million salary cap projection proves accurate.
So, with Iguodala and the accompanying transacions completed, how has the Warriors future financial situation changed?
Iguodala will earn a little more than $12 million in 2014-15, and Speights will make a fully-guaranteed $3.6 million, according to HoopsWorld. The Warriors will presumably pick up player options on Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Festus Ezeli while guaranteeing Draymond Green’s contract.
Kent Bazemore’s contract expires after the 2013-14 season. The qualifying offer to make Bazemore a restricted free agent means that he will have a cap hold of $1,115,243, though he will likely sign for more, further limiting cap space. The expiring contracts of Douglas and O’Neal also carry cap holds, amounting to around $2.8 million. Considering Bogut’s massive $16.4 million cap hold, the Warriors will begin the 2014-15 offseason pushed against the salary cap.
As with any free-agency situation, timing will be key to create flexibility. The Warriors could renounce their Bird Rights to several players to eliminate their cap holds (they will almost certainly do this with O’Neal and Douglas), or they could re-sign players at a reduced salary before pursuing others, reducing the cap hit.
The only way for the Warriors to generate significant cap space for next offseason, barring a David Lee trade, is renouncing Bogut. This, assuming the Warriors pick up the options on all their young players, would leave them with around $10 million in cap space. However, using that $10 million would require losing Bogut, as renouncing his Bird Rights would mean that the team could not go over the cap to re-sign him
Though the situation may change, the Warriors do not expect the Warriors as currently constructed to be major players in free agency next summer