It appears that the Golden State Warriors, and specifically majority owner Joe Lacob, do have a limit on the amount of money they’ll spend on the franchises’ roster.
With the organization already deep into the luxury tax, many fans believed that increasing the bill even more would be no issue given the revenue produced in the teams’ championship run.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In a wildly shocking first day of NBA free agency, Warriors fans were left thoroughly disappointed with reports that the franchise had lost defensive maestro Gary Payton II.
The Golden State Warriors lost Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson on the first day of free agency, while Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets.
According to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors were simply unwilling to match the Portland Trail Blazers’ substantial offer for the 29-year-old Payton.
While Payton’s on-court value was vitally important, his off-court persona had just as much, if not more to do with why he was such a beloved figure in Golden State.
Speaking of beloved figures, Oakland’s own Juan Toscano-Anderson also bid farewell to the franchise on day one of free agency. This wasn’t as much of a surprise, with the Warriors not extending a qualifying offer to the swingman in the days prior.
Still, hearing that Toscano-Anderson had joined the rival Los Angeles Lakers would have been a tough pill to swallow for Warriors fans.
But as much as the departures of him and Payton provided somber feelings, the Warriors’ hopes of back-to-back championships were most impacted by even more startling news – Durant requesting a trade from the Nets.
If the Nets do find and accept a trade, any potential landing spot for Durant will likely cause a seismic shift in league expectations. Golden State will hope Durant remains in the Eastern Conference, rather than join a close foe like the Phoenix Suns.
Most teams will enquire about the 34-year-old given his stature as a two-time Finals MVP and consensus top 20 player of all time. However, as previously discussed, a reunion between Durant and the Warriors seems incredibly unlikely despite the enticing trade package Golden State could offer.
For the short term, Golden State’s biggest priority will be securing the services of Kevon Looney. With no confirmed re-signing as yet, and with the loss of Payton, fans will be nervous that the same fate doesn’t incur with their starting center.