Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Future of the Golden State Warriors: Contenders or Pretenders?

Like most students, the Golden State Warriors are now on summer break.  The Warriors made their first postseason appearance since 2007, but are they playoff contenders or pretenders in the years to come?

The Warriors have another three years and $45 million with David Lee; however, since his injury, some critics have questioned how much the Warriors really need the league’s leader in double-doubles.  The Warriors have locked up Stephen Curry for the next four years (for $44 million,) and barring any injuries, I think that’s what you call a steal.  Klay Thompson, the other half of the Splash Brothers, and Harrison Barnes, a true Warrior after coming back from six stitches in Game 6, still have a couple years left on their rookie contracts.

The biggest question mark for next season is what happens to Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack.  Landry has a player option that he can exercise at $4 million.  Jack will be an unrestricted free agent after making $5.4 million this season; however, his agent has made it clear that Jack prefers to stay in the Bay.  Landry and Jack will be hot commodities on the free agent market.  Both men can easily start on most other NBA teams, and I believe both men can secure a long-term deal in the $6-7 million range, if they wanted to.

Keeping both Landry and Jack or either one of them is problematic for the Warriors, if they don’t want to start the luxury tax cycle.  The Warriors pretty much gave away Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler this past season, in order to get under the salary cap.  Barring a significant increase in the luxury tax threshold, the Warriors are nearly maxed out again next season.

Fan favorites Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson have player options totaling $20 million.  Although both Biedrins and Jefferson are benchwarmers, they’re not idiots, and they will exercise their options.  Andrew Bogut is due $14 million in the final year of his contract.  The Warriors will have about $35 million dollars in expiring contracts heading into next season.  I would love to see them bring Jack back, but Joe Lacob and Bob Meyers have a lot of work ahead of them.  Keep in mind, the Warriors don’t have any picks in next month’s NBA draft (thank you Marcus Williams).

All in all, the Warriors are in a good place, and I believe they are playoff contenders for the next couple of years.  Also, keep an eye out for the Dwight Howard and Chris Paul sweepstakes.  Both superstars are unrestricted free agents this summer.  Although the Warriors are approaching the luxury tax threshold again, never say never.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Jarrett Jack Stephen Curry

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