Stephen Curry reportedly views the Warriors' Big 3 as a 'package deal' as major contract decisions loom for Golden State

Stephen Curry reportedly views the Warriors' Big 3 as a 'package deal' as major contract decisions loom for Golden State
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Stephen Curry holds up a finger during a game.
Stephen Curry.Jed Jacobsohn/AP Images
  • Key Warriors players like Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Klay Thompson are due for extensions.

  • Stephen Curry reportedly views himself, Green, and Thompson as a "package deal" and wants the Warriors to retain them.

  • The Warriors payroll could balloon to over $500 million if they pay everyone their market rate.

The Golden State Warriors face a tricky decision in the years ahead: Pay historic amounts to keep a championship roster together or risk agitating their best player.

Last season, the Warriors already had the most expensive payroll in NBA history, paying about $346 million between salaries and taxes.

Their roster is only going to get more expensive. Stephen Curry's yearly salary from his four-year, $215 million extension increases each season. And in the coming year, the Warriors will face decisions on extensions for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and Jordan Poole, all of whom will earn annual salaries starting in the high $20 millions (and likely higher).

The NBA's tax system penalizes teams for spending over the salary cap in consecutive seasons, meaning that each year the Warriors fly above the salary cap (set for $123.6 million in 2022-23) and the luxury tax ($150 million), they face increasingly hefty taxes.

Navigating these extensions will be tricky for the Golden State, especially because Curry reportedly wants to see his co-stars get paid.

According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson, Curry views the Warriors "Big Three" — consisting of Curry, Thompson, and Green — as a "package deal." The two-time MVP would reportedly be annoyed if the Warriors lost either Green or Thompson on account of salary.

Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson sit on a stage next to each other and hold up four fingers.
The Warriors' Big Three of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry.Michael Dwyer/AP Images

As Slater and Thompson note, Green's extension may be the trickiest to navigate. Green reportedly believes he is deserving of a max extension, which according to The Athletic, would come in around four years, $138 million.

However, Green still has two years remaining on his current deal — the 2022-23 season, plus a player option worth $27.5 million for 2023-24. The Warriors are reportedly not yet negotiating with Green, preferring to wait until next season.

There is risk in waiting, as The Athletic notes. First, Green is reportedly willing to explore other options if the Warriors aren't willing to pay him what he believes he deserves.

Green is not only the Warriors' defensive anchor and key playmaker, but he is also the emotional engine of the team.  Angering Green by putting off an extension could have ripple effects in the locker room.

Of course, it's not a matter of just paying Green.

According to The Athletic, Wiggins, at the moment, seems the most likely to be extended after an incredible postseason. The Athletic pegs an extension for him to start at a yearly salary somewhere between $33-40 million.

Then there is Poole, the dynamic scoring guard who broke out this season and was considered a Most Improved Player candidate. Jalen Brunson, another scoring combo guard with similar production to Poole, just signed a four-year, $104 million contract with the New York Knicks this summer. It seems fair to assume Poole could get similar; The Athletic estimates an extension for him starting around $27 million per year.

Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins smile and celebrate on the court together.
Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins are due for big extensions.Jeff Chiu/AP Images

Thompson still has two years, $88 million remaining on his deal and may not sign an extension, given that he has only played 32 games over the last three years while recovering from injuries.

According to The Athletic, if the Warriors extend Green, Wiggins, and Poole at the aforementioned numbers — while keeping the rest of the current roster in tact — it would give them a total payroll, including taxes, of about $568 million.

The Warriors are the richest team in the NBA and have been willing to pay enormous sums to compete, but even owner Joe Lacob has said there is a limit.

"Those numbers are not even remotely possible," Lacob told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami earlier in July of the Warriors' future payroll numbers. He added: "There are limits. I'm not going to say what they are, but there are limits to what you can do."

As Slater and Thompson noted, the Warriors could simply opt not to extend anyone, giving them another year to evaluate their roster. But doing so flies in the face of the consistency and chemistry they've championed, and it's worth wondering if it might create tension or unrest with their core players.

Of course, the Warriors are also in a unique position — they can pay these players. There are no rules against re-signing their own players. The system will test just how much Golden State wants to pay to chase more championships.

Read the original article on Insider