The Golden State Warriors are in the middle of a dynasty, with five straight appearances in the NBA Finals, winning the championship three times during that stretch. And it doesn’t look like their dynasty is going to end any time soon. That’s because the Warriors keep adding stars to their roster, making them better on the court and keeping them in the championship conversation.
And the Warriors look poised to keep locking up stars, and they may have an inside track on signing Giannis Antetokounmpo if he decides to leave the Bucks. Here’s why the Warriors are so good at grabbing other teams’ superstars.
How the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant
The Warriors signed Kevin Durant in free agency prior to the 2016-17 season, inking him to a two-year contract worth more than $54 million. They already had several stars on the roster, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. So how were they able to sign Durant?
It was a combination of good fortune and good management, as the Washington Post explains. In 2015, the National Basketball Players Association rejects a proposal by the league to gradually integrate an influx of money from a massive new TV deal into the salary cap.
Instead, the union choose to get a historic one-time spike in 2016. That turned out to be lucky for the Warriors, who were able to add Durant to an already-stacked team while staying under the inflated salary cap.
In position to grab Giannis Antetokounmpo
Durant is no longer on the Golden State Warriors, but they still have a good team. It’s not good enough for them, though, and they may be able to land the reigning league MVP in the future, thanks to the front office’s skill and some luck that the team has experienced in recent years.
The Warriors are having a subpar season due to losing Durant and Curry missing much of the season with an injury. That means they’re going to end up with a high pick in the first round of this year’s draft.
That will make good trade bait for a team that doesn’t need a high pick. If Antetokounmpo rejects a supermax contract from the Bucks, they may choose to trade the star — and a top-five draft pick would be a good centerpiece of any deal Golden State could make Milwaukee.
Getting the high pick is similar to having the surprise cap space in 2016. If the “Greek freak” chooses to leave the Bucks, the Warriors should be a top team for him to target, given the roster they have when healthy.
This off-year could be a blessing in disguise for the Warriors
The Warriors will miss the playoffs — if there are any — this year for the first time since going 23-43 in 2011-12, but that may be a good thing. Their current 15-50 record and the resulting high draft pick gives the Warriors a good chance to add to an already stacked roster, potentially extending their dynasty.
The injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson also aren’t necessarily as bad as they appear. Assuming the players make full recoveries, having the injuries and limiting their playing time this season will lead to less wear-and-tear on their bodies. That is especially important because of all of the extra minutes they have played in recent seasons as the team has made deep playoff runs to the Finals.
Missing the playoffs will save minutes on the rest of the roster, as well. All of that equates to this subpar season looking like it may ultimately be beneficial to the Warriors in the coming years, potentially making them even more attractive to Antetokounmpo.