Ever since the Warriors dynasty began in 2015, the discussion of "built vs. bought" has become even more prevalent. Before, the Warriors were lauded for their ability to draft well and develop players, hence the "built" narrative.
Recently, the Warriors have received criticism for seemingly buying their way to a championship, after spending over $350 million last season alone ($184 million on salaries plus $170 million for the luxury tax bill).
That said, ESPN's Zach Lowe feels the criticism towards the Warriors' spending is unwarranted.
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"What are the Warriors supposed to do? Let Draymond Green and Klay Thompson go? Not give Steph Curry the max?" Lowe pondered on the most recent episode of The Lowe Post. "Teams re-signing their own players, who they drafted and developed, is a good thing; we should want that."
ESPN's Bobby Marks added that the Warriors have eight players on their roster drafted in the first or second round, including breakout star Jordan Poole, who is expected to get a contract anywhere between $80-100 million. Marks also noted that the Warriors essentially paid $11 million to non-tax teams, the highest amount in league history.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Warriors have two players in the top 10 in player salaries: Curry is first at $48 million, while Thompson is 10th at $40.6 million. Further down the list, Andrew Wiggins is 26th at $33.6 million and Draymond 46th at $25.8 million. In total, the Warriors are expected to have over $209 million committed in salary next season.
Golden State Warriors
The Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets rounded out the top three in player salaries, respectively.
It's important to note as well that the Warriors let several key pieces walk in free agency, as they hope that players they recently drafted such as Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Wiseman fill those vacant roles. Nevertheless, Warriors detractors will still find a reason to voice their displeasure.
In response to those complaining about spending, Marks had a simple message:
"If I was the commissioner, I would just say 'draft better,'" he concluded.
While it is true that small-market teams aren't afforded the same luxury of retaining their drafted stars through extravagant spending, it is also true that the Warriors shouldn't be penalized for doing so.