The Warriors are atop the NBA once again.
This status — once unimaginable for this organization — has become so commonplace that forward Draymond Green has taken to calling the NBA Finals the “Warriors Invitational” after Golden State’s fourth title — and sixth championship-round appearance — in eight years.
Yes, the Warriors might have been down for the two years leading up to this incredible, improbable 2022 championship, but Green and the Dubs know what happens next: Twenty-nine other teams have set their sights on the crown-holder, and they’ re going to come hard.
Because the Warriors’ championship this year wasn’t expected, every reason will be given between now and next June as to why the Dubs will be a one-term title winner. Haters are going to hate.
There’s no reason to believe the Dubs can’t win the title again next year.
“I feel like next year we’re gonna be even better,” Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins said Saturday.
He’s probably right.
Let’s start with the astonishing but verifiable fact that when Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry start every game of a playoff series, the Warriors have never lost.
Nope, not one series.
That’s a run that dates back to the 2015 playoffs. And until that streak ends, it’d be foolhardy to pick against the Warriors.
With this team’s veteran core, an impressive young core and Wiggins emerging as one of the NBA’s best wings, the Warriors are built for success, not just for next year, but for many years to come.
But while the Warriors are built for annual success, we all know building in the Bay is costly and prices keep going up.
How the Warriors handle this upcoming offseason will go a long way to determining if they can go back-to-back or slide back to pack.
The top impediment to the Warriors repeating as champions next year is green. No, not the player — I’m talking about cold, hard cash.
The Warriors have seemingly endless funds, but we might find the limit in the near future. Golden State is poised to set an NBA record for payroll next season, and that’ll be the case even if they don’t return everyone from their title-winning team.
As of today, Golden State is well over the NBA’s luxury tax threshold with just the contracts they already have on the books for next season. They’re so deep into the tax that they’ll likely have to pay $6 on top of every $1 they spend this offseason.
So buy all the hats, t-shirts and title trinkets you can find, Warriors fans, because Joe Lacob, the Warriors’ CEO, will be banking on that additional revenue to keep this squad together.
Now, Curry, Green and Thompson are locked in for a few years yet — there’s no need to fret there.
But there’s a good reason Wiggins and Jordan Poole shot a video in the Warriors’ locker room after clinching the title where they proclaimed they were about to “get a bag.”
Of money, that is.
Because, well, they are.