Somehow, the NBA’s deepest roster just found some extra fathoms.
Nick Young joined the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday on a one-year contract that will pay him a reported $5.2 million. It’s a deal that gives the Warriors extra depth at shooting guard, even if Young is only a year removed from tweeting about how much he hates Golden State fans.
It’s also another successful chess move by the Warriors in a summer when almost everything seems to have come off. Here’s how the NBA’s best team may have got better.
Paying Stephen Curry
The Warriors had Curry on one of the NBA’s best contracts for years so a huge payout this summer was inevitable. Curry’s $201 million deal over five years munches cap space, but finding creative solutions to the salary cap is far preferable to losing the NBA’s premier point guard. Curry will be 34 when he hits unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2022. The Warriors have him for the best years of his career, and there are those—LeBron James included—who think Curry is undervalued even on a super-max contract.
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Kevin Durant’s altruism
Durant, too, is getting his money this season and he will get even more next summer. But by taking around $8 million less than he was entitled to, Durant gave the Warriors breathing room to sign the role-players who have been so crucial to their championship runs.
Keeping Iguodala and Shaun Livingston
Here’s the benefit to Durant’s contract. The Warriors could bring back the 2015 NBA Finals MVP with the money they might have paid the 2017 Finals MVP. Forbes reports that Iguodala negotiated the Warriors up from $12 to $14 million over two years to $48 million over three years, which the Warriors would almost certainly have been unable to acquiesce to had they not had the extra wriggle-room.
Livingston’s contract has also been carefully structured. Zach Lowe of ESPN tweeted on July 1 that the third year of the backup guard’s deal is only partially guaranteed for $2 million. That would kick in in the summer of 2019, the same time as Klay Thompson becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s not something that the Warriors can control, of course, but the Cavaliers’ offseason has been chaotic so far. David Griffin departed as General Manager and has yet to be replaced, and perhaps as a result no big names have been signed in free agency to help out LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The flipside to this is that the Western Conference has got stupidly strong, but even the James Harden-Chris Paul combination, if it works, will probably only hold the Warriors up for two playoff games.
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