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Steve Kerr says Andre Iguodala pranked him about leaving for Kings

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All is well in a land of the Golden State Warriors. The 2018 NBA champs celebrated in Oakland today with their championship parade. Meanwhile, stories about the Warriors are beginning to trickle out of Golden State, including one about Andre Iguodala‘s free agency in 2017.

Iguodala had many suitors that summer, including the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, in addition to the Warriors. According to Golden State coach Steve Kerr, Iguodala apparently pranked the Warriors coach by setting up a conference call with him and GM Bob Myers to let them know that he was going to head to Sacramento.

Speaking on Zach Lowe’s podcast on Tuesday, Kerr told the story about Iguodala’s joke.

Via The Lowe Post:

I was never really that worried. I guess Sacramento was involved, and they were offering him a big deal. Typical Andre, he decided to play a joke on Bob and me. He got us on a conference call and told us he was going to go to Sacramento. We wished him well and he’s like, “I gotcha suckers, I’m coming back.”

We know that there were some things happening behind the scenes in the Warriors organization that David West hinted about — some things that might not be exactly all peaches and cream. This seems relatively harmless, but no doubt we will hear more stories about the intricacies of this team and the people behind it as the days move along through summer.

Apparently Iguodala didn’t catch Kerr by surprise for too long, and his ruse only stood up for a few seconds until they figured out the Warriors guard was going to return to the team. Still, to have that kind of relationship and trust between a player and front office folks is pretty surprising. You don’t hear about two many players pranking their general managers during free agency.

Report: Draymond Green won’t take discount for Warriors, eying super-max contract

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How much longer will the Warriors remain elite?

It’s a luxury-tax question as much as anything.

Stephen Curry unwittingly took a massive discount on his rookie-scale extension, signed when his ankle injuries were more prominent. He said he offered to take another one last season, but for some reason, Golden State turned him down.

Kevin Durant took a discount, larger than the one necessary for the Warriors to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, last summer. Durant doesn’t sound eager to take another one.

Klay Thompson already discussed a contract extension that would save Golden State 10s of millions of dollars. His dad sounds more cautious about that, though.

And what about Draymond Green? He’s locked up for two more seasons, so nothing is urgent. But he’ll be eligible this offseason for a three-year, $72,080,137 contract extension ($24,026,712 annually).

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

According to league sources, Green will turn the extension down when it’s offered. That’s because if he earns MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or All-NBA Team honors next season, he will be eligible for a super-max contract

Sources say Green is not expected to take a pay cut on the next go-around.

The salary cap is currently $99,093,000. It’s projected to be $101 million next season and $108 million the following season. What will it be in 2020-21, when Green’s new deal would kick in? Tough to forecast that far out, but I’ll use an estimate of $111 million.

If Green wins Defensive Player or makes an All-NBA team next season – quite plausible, considering he’s arguably the NBA’s best defender – he’d be eligible for a super-max extension projected to be worth about $225 million over five years (about $45 million annually).

Failing that, he could play out the final year of his current contract and try again to to win Defensive Player of the Year or make an All-NBA team in 2019-20. If he does, he’d be eligible to re-sign with the Warriors for that exact same amount – a projected $225 million over five years (about $45 million annually).

Even if Green completes his current contract without meeting the designated-player criteria, he could re-sign with Golden State in 2020 for a projected $193 million over five years (about $39 million annually). Or he could sign with another team for a projected $143 million over four years (about $36 million annually).

All those amounts tower over his largest possible contract extension this offseason.

However, Green will be 30 when his current contract expires. Teams, including the Warriors, might not rush to max him out at that point. Even if he becomes eligible for a super-max deal, Golden State might not deem him worth it.

Still, locking into just $72,080,137 over three years this offseason is probably selling himself short. There’s plenty of room for Green to command more than that and less than his max.

So, expect this saga to continue beyond this summer.

How thorny it gets remains unknown, but Green’s 2015 free agency could be instructive. Green seemed like a candidate for a max contract, and in hindsight, would’ve been well worth it. Talks between him and Golden State broke down the first day of free agency. By that night, he agreed to a lucrative – but sub-max – five-year contract.

Green didn’t want to get shortchanged, but he didn’t push the Warriors as hard as he could’ve, either.

Warriors owner on keeping team together: ‘We’ll do whatever we can to keep them’

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The Golden State Warriors are the NBA champions once again, and now we turn to the offseason.

Golden State is in a specific quandary given many of their stars are either due for free agency or for an extension. That means a lot of cost is going to be associated with keeping the core of the team together. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala all have at least a couple years left on their contracts, but Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant are in need of new deals.

The Warriors are already well over the cap, and they will be deep into the luxury tax no matter what kind of discounts they get on those players. Still, according to Warriors owner Joe Lacob, that won’t be a problem.

Via ESPN:

“All good things cost a lot,” he said simply. “We’re going to try to sign Klay and Draymond to extensions this summer. They’ve earned the right to do whatever they want; maybe they want to wait until free agency. I can’t control that. But we’ll do whatever we can to keep them.

“We’ve proven that if we think we’re competing for a championship, we’ll be in the luxury tax. No one wants to be, but we expect to be. All I can tell you is we’re going to sit down and do our planning on how we’re going to improve the team for the future and setting ourselves up in the future. And it could go a number of different ways.”

The real problem for the Warriors is not the luxury tax itself, which seems like a necessary evil at this point given the dynasty that has formed in Oakland. The repeater tax, a penalty for being in the luxury tax multiple times during a certain period, is what will really put the brakes on Golden State.

As with many salary details, the repeater tax is sort of complicated but you can read about it here. Essentially, for certain tiers above the luxury tax, teams who qualify for the repeater will be charged a certain dollar amount multiplied by the amount of money in each tier they are over the luxury tax.

For example, the current repeater penalty for the tier ranging from $0 to $4,999,999 over the luxury tax is $2.50. So if a team was $4,000,000 into the luxury, they would pay an additional $10,000,000 in penalty ($4,000,000 x $2.50).

You have to be over the luxury tax three out of the prior four years to incur the repeater, and Golden State has only been in the tax for the 2017-18 season. That means they’d have until 2020-21 to figure something out, at which time it’s possible retirement or a trade of one of their players could factor as a way for them to duck the repeater.

Lacob is willing to spend, and it seems unlikely major elements of the Warriors are going elsewhere soon.

Golden State is a dynasty, but how long can they keep it up?

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CLEVELAND — Dynasty.

That word gets thrown around too casually in sports. However, we can legitimately use it referencing these Golden State Warriors, especially after Friday night when they held the Larry O’Brien Trophy aloft for the third time in four years (and they won 73 games and went to a Game 7 of the Finals the one year they didn’t pick up a ring). The team has everything a dynasty needs. It has the banners — and now back-to-back titles. It has the legendary players that will help define a generation in the league — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. It has players who can put ego aside and do what is best for the team, who can handle a regular season filled with injuries and uneven play with their eye on the big prize at the end.

The Warriors are a dominant force that will enter next season — regardless of what happens this summer in free agency — as the team to beat. They have set the bar to clear — LeBron James may be on the move again because he needs a better situation to challenge these Warriors. The only question that seems left:

How many more years can they keep this up?

“We want to keep this thing going as long as we can,” Curry said, although understandably the Warriors’ players didn’t want to discuss the future as much as celebrate the present Friday night.

“Any question that kind of talks about the future and whatnot, you don’t want to cheat the moment,” Curry added. “So we’ll have plenty of time over the summer to talk about what next year’s going to look like and what it’s going to take for us to get back to this stage next year.”

What it’s going to take to keep these Warriors rolling is to keep their core four together.

Right now, none of them are pushing to get out the door and have a team of their own — Durant has said he’ll re-sign with the Warriors and Klay Thompson said he’d take a discount to stay. Those two were considered the most likely to want to step out on their own according to sources around the league. If they stay, the Warriors remain a force for years.

That’s because none of those core guys are old — Curry just turned 30 in March and Durant will do the same before next season starts, while Green and Thompson are 27. They are at their peak and will be for another four or five years. Andre Iguodala is 34, but aside that the heart of their rotation is not old — and GM Bob Myers keeps finding guys such as Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw who can help now while on their rookie contracts. There will be changes in the role players around the core — they likely lose Kevon Looney in free agency this summer and probably David West, but they will have the taxpayer midlevel exception to add someone — but so long as the core is together this team will contend.

The challenge is financial — all four of those core guys are max contract players. At what point do the Warriors’ owners balk at the cost?

Curry got his max last summer (after being on one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the league), but also last year Durant took nearly $10 million less than he could have to help the team keep Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Shooting down some odd speculation in the media (or maybe wishful thinking in some quarters), Durant said he will re-sign with Golden State this summer. However, he will not take that discount again, he will get his max starting at $35 million and the only question is how long the contract is for (four years, or does he take a one-plus-one so he is fully vested and can re-sign a five-year Bird rights deal with the Warriors next summer?).

Thompson is a free agent in 2019 and has talked about taking a discount to help keep the team together (probably not an extension, though, where he would leave as much as $80 million total on the table, he will just take less than the max in 2019). In 2020, Green will come up for a new deal that starts at $25 million.

The Warriors are in the luxury tax now ($32.7 million this season) and in the 2019-20 season will go into the repeater tax, jumping that bill up even higher — in 2020 they could pay $150 million or more in luxury tax, with a total team salary bill north of $320 million (that’s nearly double what they paid this season, already the highest salaried team in the NBA).

The Warriors owners have said they are willing to pay the tax for a winner (moving into a new building in San Francisco in a couple of years will help, that will open up revenue streams). Look at what Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob told the Athletic this week.

“I tell Bob (Myers, Warriors GM) every day, our job is not to let it end. It may change, just like we changed when we added Kevin and (let go of) some really good players that won the championship in ’15.

“So we have to recognize that and be willing to make some changes each year that are required. Some will be of our doing and some will sort of be handed to us….

“What I’d love for us to be able to do is have a Spurs-like 20-year run of being very consistently good and competing for championships, and that’s my job.”

A Spurs-like run of sustained excellence requires a lot of things to go right. It requires a little luck, too. The Warriors organization, however, is in as good a position as any team to do it.

Back to our original question: How many more years can they keep this up?

The Warriors aren’t going anywhere for the next three to five years at least — this dynasty has won three titles in four years, but it could be five-in-seven, six-in-nine, or more when all is said and done.

And if ownership gets its wish, the Warriors will not be done then.

Steve Kerr calls Shaun Livingston “the unsung guy in this series”

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Shaun Livingston has been a secret weapon for the Warriors in the Finals. One that’s not so secret anymore.

His stats are impressive off the bench for Golden State: 9.3 points per game on a ridiculous 13-of-14 shooting. He has an offensive rating of 179 in the Finals. He knows who he is and what he does well on the court — midrange jumpers — and he plays within that. He’s another of the Warriors’ high IQ players.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was singing Livingston’s praises on KNBR 680, as reported by NBC Sports Bay Area.

“The unsung guy in this series has been Shaun Livingston. He’s been brilliant,” Steve Kerr said on KNBR 680 on Thursday. “He’s bailed us out a few times when we’ve had foul trouble. And he’s kind of taken over the offense and has given us great minutes at both ends.

“Shaun and Andre (Iguodala) — it’s been a really interesting year for both of them. Where they are in their careers — with their age, with the mileage — I think they have paced themselves to get to this point. And they’ve both been fantastic in the playoffs and really picked it up.

“It’s really exactly what we needed them to do.”

The Cavaliers haven’t gotten anything like that from their bench.

Certainly, the Warriors are up 3-0 in the NBA Finals because they have four All-Stars playing in sync while the Cavaliers need LeBron James to be superhuman to even have a chance. But it’s also the things around those stars: The Warriors switching is much smoother on defense, for one. And then there is Livingston, and Andre Iguodala, and even Jordan Bell giving them quality minutes off the bench.

Livingston, in particular, has been huge, and the Warriors have him locked up for two seasons after this one at a very reasonable $16 million total. He’s not going anywhere.