Neil Paine at Fivethirtyeight outlines how the Golden State Warriors are playing games with the National Basketball Association salary cap in order to stock players that will increase their immense chances of winning another NBA title.
I’m looking forward to when this detonates in the face of the millionaires who’ve thrown the rule book out the window along with their checkbook balances. The NBA already puts a product on the floor that’s not worth watching unless you have an interest in one of the teams playing. As the Warriors render the regular season increasingly meaningless, at some point people will quit watching the way they do when you know the end to a story you’re not enjoying all that much anyway.
The second paragraph is agreed to. The first one is literally true but perhaps misleading: the Warriors are making room for all these high-zoot players by getting them to take less. This is how the Miami Heat did it when LeBron took his talents to South Beach: King James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all could have made more money elsewhere. (Then again, Florida has no state income tax, and you can’t tell me these guys didn’t know it.) The biggest of the big spenders, at least once all the new contracts go through, is Oklahoma City, which is obligated, barring some rather startling moves, to fork out three hundred million dollars in luxury tax and payroll and more luxury tax. Old-timers on the Thunder beat will recall that the entire franchise was obtained for only $350 million.
There is, yes, a problem, but it’s geographical: all the superstars seemingly have migrated to the West. If DeMar DeRozan makes noise about DeParting the Raptors, it’s gonna be pretty dire for every team east of Minnesota. (DeRozan isn’t going anywhere — Toronto has his name on a contract through the spring of 2021 — but who else is there in the East?)
If the Warriors are truly making a mockery of the salary cap, well, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in spring 2024, though either side can opt out the year before. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is done to curb the Dubs.