I’m not sure legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant ever imagined how much NBA dynasties would cost in the future when he famously said, “The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.”
Decades later, the Golden State Warriors are taking Bryant at his literal word.
The Warriors went “way over” owner Joe Lacob’s initial budget in order to keep their reigning championship core together, general manager Bob Myers told the Bay Area News Group’s Marcus Thompson and Tim Kawakami. Here’s Myers, via Business Insider’s transcription of the podcast:
“Here’s the thing to know about Joe: He’s really competitive, and he wants to win. And so you have to balance that, like anyone does, with running a business. … You have to balance spending with running a business with trying to win championships.
“But Joe is good in that we had a number heading into free agency as to what the budget was, and we’re way over it.”
The Warriors have committed an NBA-record $135.8 million to 14 players for the 2017-18 season, and that payroll will come with a $36.9 million luxury tax for a total bill of approximately $172.7 million, per spotrac.com. That’s after Kevin Durant took an even bigger pay cut than expected this summer and before they potentially fill the 15th spot on their roster with another veteran minimum contract.
All in all, the numbers are shaping up similarly to projections Bobby Marks made for The Vertical back in June, when he suggested keeping the core together could cost upwards of $1.4 billion through 2021.
The Warriors spent $334 million in future payroll this summer, including $201 million for Stephen Curry, but Myers suggested the three-year, $48 million contract the Warriors gave 33-year-old Andre Iguodala was the deal that sent them “way over” budget. More from the podcast, via Business Insiders:
“The decision was: We’re trying to win championships now, and if this is what it takes to get Andre Iguodala back, this is what we’re doing.
“We operated a little differently, because when you’re in the window for [championship] contention … I would have never forgiven myself — and I think Joe would have felt the same way — let’s say we hugged the line and Andre Iguodala would have walked, wherever he went, who knows. And at the end of the season we lose in the Finals or the playoffs, and I look at Joe and we look at each other and Steve [Kerr], and we say, ‘We should have kept Iguodala. We could have had another championship.’ That’s what you can’t live with.”
Even if for a moment, it sounds like the Warriors wrestled with the decision to bring Iguodala back at his market value, and for good reason. That is a hefty salary to pay a veteran coming off the bench, even if Iguodala is a perennial Sixth Man of the Year contender, and especially when the four current All-Stars already on the roster are all scheduled to make a combined $93.9 million next season. At the same time, cap-strapped Golden State could not have found a comparable contributor on the open market, so letting Iguodala walk would have been conceding to being less of a force moving forward.
The Warriors faced a choice between a dynasty and dollars, and they chose championship rings (which won’t be cheap, either). The problem comes in 2019, when Durant and Klay Thompson will both be eligible for $200 million-plus contracts, and the Warriors only have one super-max left to give.
More from Yahoo Sports:
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