Joe Lacob criticizes ‘unfair’ NBA luxury tax that penalizes local Warriors


Warriors CEO Joe Lacob has made it clear over the years that he would pay whatever it takes to field a competitive team.

Lacob wants to win – really – and he knows it comes at a cost.


And with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all locked into massive contracts, the Warriors’ price tag is going to be sky-high every season.

With Andrew Wiggins now in the fold, those four players alone accounted for more than $139 million in salary last season, well above the $112.4 million cap and even exceeding the luxury tax threshold. of $136.6 million. Completing the list, Golden State’s final total salary was nearly $176 million.

All of that spending resulted in a luxury tax bill of more than $170 million, which saw the Warriors pay north of $346 million for the team that won its fourth NBA title in eight seasons.

But aside from Wiggins and free agents signed to minimum veteran contracts last summer, the Warriors were a team full of players they drafted and developed. And it’s for this reason that Lacob isn’t a fan of the current luxury tax situation the league is putting in place.

“The hardest thing of all is navigating this luxury tax, unfortunately,” Lacob told Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on the latest episode of their “Point Forward” podcast. “I went back to New York this week for business meetings. I’m on the committee. And you know, obviously the league wants everybody to have a chance and right now there’s a certain element there- bas who believes that we ‘check the win’, we won because we have the most salaries on our team.

“The truth is, we’re only $40 million over the luxury tax. It’s not small, but it’s not a huge number. We’re over $200 million. in total because most of it is this incredible criminal tax on luxury. And what I consider unfair and I’m going to say it on this podcast and I hope it comes back to whoever’s listening… and obviously that’s selfish for me to say that, but I think it’s a very unfair system because our team is built by – the top eight players are all drafted by this team.”

Wiggins obviously wasn’t drafted by the Warriors, but as Iguodala reminded Lacob, the former No. 1 pick was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves with his birding rights intact, meaning the Warriors could go over the salary cap to retain him.

“Okay,” Lacob said. “And we have guys that weren’t drafted and we found and developed in Santa Cruz. We didn’t have a free agent that’s not a minimum. Not one. All the minimums of the guys we have brought in this year. So the only guy you could make a case for us topping the competition, not being fair is that we turned [Kevin] Durant left as a guy who turned into Wiggins, and it worked really well. But they all blamed us for doing it, said he was overpaid and that [we] made a bad deal. So you can’t have it both ways.”

While the Warriors have always had to fill their roster with free agent signings, the two main moves they made for outside talent before the Wiggins trade were signing Durant and signing and trading for bringing Iguodala to the team in 2013. .

Still, the Warriors have to pay high taxes to keep their team intact, rather than dismantling it.

“It’s criminal because we developed ourselves, a local team,” Lacob said. “We really are.”

While Lacob thinks the current grunts are unwarranted, there’s one move he’ll accept a blowback for.

“I understand why they got mad at us for the Durant case, but anyone else would have done it too, if you want to go for it,” Lacob said. “That’s the truth. And that one, I don’t know how they could be angry because we’re local. And I think the luxury tax, you should pay a high luxury tax if you use to free yourself agents and spend more than your competitors but if you develop your own guys and pay steph curry what he deserves and klay thompson what he earned why am i paying 200 million dollars in luxury tax?I don’t think that’s fair.

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Fair or not, that’s the current situation the Warriors find themselves in and it’s not going away any time soon. Curry, Thompson and Green are locked up for several more seasons. Wiggins and Jordan Poole are in line for extensions in the near future. If young players like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody reach their potential over the next few seasons, they could get massive extensions, sending the Warriors salary even higher.

Lacob doesn’t like the way things are run now, but he’ll be happy to foot the bill if the Warriors continue to struggle and expand the dynasty for the next decade.

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