4 keys to Warriors’ offseason approach after winning 4th NBA Championship in 8 years

With the series back in TD Garden for Game 6, Stephen Curry is going after 34 points to reach the finals MVP and give Golden State its 4th championship since 2015.

Long before they poured champagne over championship euphoria, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr shared a few of their uncertainties about whether or not could even happen.

As Kerr told Myers before the NBA Finals started: “I do not know if this is a championship team.”

Forget the various NBA experts who expressed doubts about the Warriors’ ability to win their fourth NBA title in eight years. Kerr admitted that he imagined the Warriors would become “a conference finalist, perhaps no longer than that” amid overlapping injuries to their stars (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green) and mixed progress with the core’s young players.

“We laughed at it. We said, ‘Well, what do we know?’ Myers now said they were proving wrong. ‘

That’s because the Warriors could no longer lean on Kevin Durant to lift them toward an NBA title that he had twice in three straight finals appearances (2017-19). But unlike the pre-playoff conversation about potential, the franchise now appears more courageous after winning its first NBA title since Durant’s free agency departure (2019).

“My experience is that when you win a championship, you get better next year,” Kerr said. “If you continue after that, it starts to wear you out. The third year for us it was brutally hard to try to get a three-turf in ’19. But whether I was a player or now as a coach, you win the first “There is a freedom with it. There is a tension and it continues into the second year.”

It presents the Warriors with what Myers called “a high-class problem.” Just a week after defeating the Boston Celtics in a decisive game 6, the Warriors have decisions to make that can determine whether they can keep the championship train running.

When the 2022 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday (8 ET, ABC / ESPN), that decision-making process begins as the Warriors seek to find some reliable young talent with their three draft picks at No. 28, 51 and 55.

Will the Warriors accept early extensions for two players who helped lead them back to the top (Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole)? Will they keep key-free agents like Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala?

Can the Warriors find a suitable replacement for Kerr’s coaching staff as assistant coach Mike Brown travels to Sacramento to coach the Kings?

Can the Warriors continue to rely on their star trio while nurturing young talent (James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody)?

1. Add more leads

From Clay’s amazing journey back to adding to the list of new talent, Steve Kerr sits down with Jared Greenberg to discuss the Warriors’ path to another title.

The Warriors will try to upgrade their roster by adding young NBA prospects to their team, just as they did in 2019 – when they used their No. 28 pick to pick Poole, who has since blossomed into a rotation player. But the same cannot be said when the Warriors spent the same first-round pick in 2018 on Jacob Evans, who barely cracked the rotation. Consider that among all the No. 28 picks in draft history, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker represents the lone gem. Otherwise, the No. 28 pick has historically had 11 role players who lasted at least 10 years, 28 to play fewer than that, and five who never appeared in an NBA game.

“A guy like Poole, it shows you how valuable it is to get it right,” Myers said.

2. Retain key-free agents

But Golden State has more control when it comes to retaining its own players, so what does the future hold for Wiggins and Poole?

Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole have discovered news ways to contribute for the Warriors against the Celtics.

Myers called it a “big priority” to sign both Wiggins and Poole to extensions. After Wiggins earned his first All-Star appearance in this ninth NBA season, his third with Golden State, the veteran swingman is eligible for an extension of up to four years to $ 172.2 million. Poole, who excelled as a goal scorer, playmaker and defender in his fourth NBA season, was eligible for an extension worth as much as $ 190 million over five years.

Technically, the Warriors have time to negotiate a deal through next season, with both Wiggins and Poole remaining under contract until then. Although Myers does not expect to reach these agreements as soon as the free agency begins on June 30, he hopes to reach a solution well in advance of next summer. If the Warriors do not secure an extension on any of the players, Wiggins will become an unlimited free agent and Poole, a limited one.

“We will do anything to keep both of these guys,” Myers said. “They were great for us.”

The Warriors said the same about most of their seven pending free agents.

Kerr described Looney as “a championship center and a modern defender” after helping the Warriors with rim protection, rebounds, screens and busy games both as a starter and reserve. Despite spending most of his seven-year NBA career fighting to stay healthy, Looney became one of only five NBA players this season to appear in all 82 games of the regular season .

“He’s a big part of our success,” Kerr said. “We all want him back. We’ve also hoping for him personally to get a really good contract, so hopefully it’s from us.”

The Warriors praised Gary Payton II for his shooting, defensive perseverance and resilience. Payton, a sixth-year guard who spent time with four different teams before teaming with Golden State, showed his toughness in a different way during the playoffs.

“I hope our players will give us a chance to respond to an offer,” Myers said. “They do not owe it to us, but that’s what you get if you win and you create a good environment.”

As for NBA veteran Iguodala, who reunited with the Warriors in early 2021-2022 on a veteran’s minimum deal, both Kerr and Myers expressed uncertainty about a possible extension of his 18-year career.

The 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Iguodala faced a limited role on the field this season due to various injuries that put him on the sidelines in 12 playoff games and 50 games in the regular season. Nevertheless, the Warriors praised Iguodala’s mentorship behind the scenes. Kerr claimed that a significant turning point in the playoffs happened when Iguodala told his teammates during their first round against the Denver Nuggets that “to win a championship, you have to improve from round to round.”

No wonder Kerr said “we would love to have him back on the list.” But what about as an assistant coach? Kerr thought, “I think he’s way too smart to sit next to me and come to all of our coaching meetings and do this.”

3. Replace Mike Brown

On the one hand, the Warriors expressed relief that Kenny Atkinson is returning to his third season after allegedly changing his mind about accepting the Charlotte Hornets’ coaching position. Kerr regarded Atkinson as “an amazing development coach” because of how he handles players and how he analyzes numbers.

On the other hand, Myers predicts that Atkinson will soon receive other coaching offers. The Warriors are in the middle of discussing how to replace former associate coach Brown, who organized the team’s rotations and defensive game plans. Myers said “we prefer internal” on how to fill the vacancy, but the Warriors have not ruled out any external candidates.

In the midst of these discussions, the Warriors do not appear to be concerned about the potential impact on their already league-leading payroll.

Golden State spent about $ 346 million in combined payroll and luxury taxes last season and is positioned to be $ 24.6 million above tax in the upcoming campaign. They can use above the ceiling to keep Looney and Payton, but cannot do the same for veteran Otto Porter Jr. after he accepted a veteran’s minimum agreement. Warriors could also have other vacancies with three other unlimited free agents (Nemanja Bjelica, Chris Chiozza, Damion Lee) and limited free agents (Juan Toscano-Anderson, Quinndary Weatherspoon).

Still, majority owner Joe Lacob has proven he is willing to spend for two reasons: Because the Chase Center is a privately funded arena, the Warriors receive revenue from both their home games and other entertainment events. Lacob has considered this variable as the cost of doing business – to some extent.

4. Keep a good thing going

Warriors’ success also depends on how much they earn from what they have.

Take a look at the best moments and games from the Warriors’ full postseason race for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green!

After Curry, Thompson and Green won their fourth NBA title together, Myers remarked that “they look pretty good now.” The Warriors expressed optimism that Thompson will play more consistently next season after returning in mid-2021-2022 after a 2 1/2 year absence with injuries. And with Curry assembling his first Bill Russell Finals MVP, Kerr is confident he can continue to lead the Warriors in future playoff races.

“He absolutely topped the playoffs,” Kerr said. “I think it will be harder for him next year as a 35-year-old and the following year to put together a season with 82 games, as he did seven years ago. But in the playoffs, when you have time off between games and you really locked in? This was the best I’ve ever seen him in terms of his two-way performance. “

As for the young people, they will have clarity about their potential this summer. After playing sparingly in their rookie seasons, center Jonathan Kuminga and guard Moses Moody are expected to play in either the California Classic (July 2-3) or the Las Vegas Summer League (July 17-17). Possibly both. The same goes for third-year center James Wiseman, who missed his entire second season while retraining his surgically repaired right knee. Myers said all three could play important minutes next season.

Kerr will worry about the list later.

“I’m looking forward to a vacation,” Kerr said. “But I’m excited to come back and train again next year.”

That’s because Kerr no longer imagines the Warriors falling short with an NBA title. This time he may be right.


Mark Medina is a senior writer / analyst for NBA.com. You can send an email to him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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