The 2016-17 Warriors are a team built around stars.
Five of their players will earn over $10 million dollars for the season: Kevin Durant ($26.5 million), Klay Thompson ($16.7 million), Draymond Green ($15.3 million), Stephen Curry ($12.1 million) and Andre Iguodala ($11.1 million).
These five players will form the Warriors’ Death Lineup 2.0. [restrict]
Holdover Shaun Livingston will earn $5.8 million in the last year of his deal during 2016-17.
The rest of the roster will be filled out by two types of player: low cost rookie contracts and free agent veterans seeking a ring.
And ring-seeking veterans willing to play at below market rates is the secret weapon of the so called “super team” approach to NBA roster construction.
Already the team has signed 30-something free agent big men ZaZa Pachulia, David West to one year deals, while also re-signing Anderson Varejao to a one year contract. Total cost for three experienced big men? Just $6 million.
In addition, look for the team to add a mid-season veteran who is waived by his former team (or after a trade), which is how they landed Varejao last year.
The team has three youngsters on inexpensive rookie contracts Kevin Looney from the 2015 NBA Draft and rookie first rounder Damian Jones and second rounder Patrick McCaw, who impressed in Summer League. Total cost for three rookies in 2016-17? Just $3.3 million.
The third element in building out a “super team” roster beyond its stars is getting key players in their thirties to take below market contracts to stay with the team when free agency is available, as players like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli have done. [/restrict]