Oubre trade would cause Warriors' luxury tax bill to soar


You can't say Warriors owner Joe Lacob doesn't put his money where his mouth is.

News broke Thursday that the Warriors reportedly are closing in on acquiring Kelly Oubre in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Oubre and his $14.375 million salary for the upcoming season would be absorbed into Golden State's massive $17.2 million trade exception.

While it remains to be seen which additional assets -- if any -- the Warriors will need to include to get the deal done, they're already paying an enormous price, assuming it goes through. By adding Oubre's salary to the Warriors' books, they'd be on the hook for a gigantic luxury tax bill.

As ESPN's Bobby Marks laid out, Golden State already is facing a tax bill of $66 million before making any further additions to the roster. If the Warriors were to acquire Oubre without sending any salary the other way, that tax bill would balloon to $134 million.

That's not chump change to the Warriors in a normal year/season, much less in one that league revenues inevitably will suffer significantly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Warriors won't have anything close to a full season's worth of Chase Center sellouts to help pay that tax bill, however large it grows. At this point, they can't count on fans being in attendance whatsoever.

Going deep into the tax is nothing new to the Warriors. It was a necessary component of their dynasty. But those teams had a healthy Klay Thompson, and the Warriors team that will take the floor this coming season will not. 

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It would have been completely understandable if Golden State had decided to change course in the wake of Thompson's Achilles injury and be less aggressive in attempting to improve the roster. But less than 24 hours after being dealt a heartbreaking blow, it would appear Lacob and the Warriors have reaffirmed their commitment to competing this season. 

That's certain to be appreciated by the fan base, particularly given the timing.

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