SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors enter training camp in pretty good shape with a full bill of health and another Larry O’Brien trophy in their case. But three key players in contract years will keep the front office busy.
Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins are eligible for contract extensions this year. Only Poole’s rookie extension has a deadline; if they don’t come to an agreement by Oct. 17, he will be a restricted free agent next summer.
“We want all those guys. Can we get them? I don’t know,” general manager Bob Myers said on Thursday.
Poole and his representatives are set to meet with the Warriors for the first time after the team’s trip to Japan to play two exhibition games against Washington, Myers said. Green and Wiggins’ representatives have already been in talks with the Warriors, Myers saying he met with Green and his agent Rich Paul on Wednesday night.
Talks are ongoing, but the Warriors aren’t feeling too much urgency to get a deal done.
“You don’t realize a true position until you’re right at deadline,” Myers said. The Warriors have to consider their financial situation as they are operating well into the luxury tax as a repeat offender, which complicates the puzzle for which they can squeeze three large contracts into future rosters.
But any extension the Warriors get done could lessen any tension heading into the year.
“I’ve been on the side as an agent I would sit with you and say do you want to take this $100 million or do you want to play it out?” Myers said. “It’s hard for us to imagine that decision, but some players say, ‘I don’t think that would go well for me and I don’t want to play with that over my head.’ Some have the ultimate confidence to say that means nothing to me and I’m going to hold on for what I think will be a bigger payday.”
Poole, Wiggins and Green might have their own individual reasons to push for an extension or wait until they’re free agents next offseason.
Myers and head coach Steve Kerr talked of the team having a set core six players with regular rotation minutes. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Green, Wiggins and Kevon Looney the likely starters with Poole most likely coming off the bench.
Poole had a breakout year averaging 24.7 points in 21 games that included 16 starts in place of an injured Curry in which he shot 47.3% overall, 41.9% from deep and 92.5% from the foul line. If the Warriors can’t guarantee a starting role for Poole, and Poole feels he can make starter money, he may want to bet on himself in the 2023 season and wait until he’s a restricted free agent to potentially field larger offers. As a restricted free agent, the Warriors could sign and trade Poole if that happens.
Or Poole can choose not to play with any contract concerns over his head and take some sure money. Other rookie extensions signed this offseason include Anfernee Simons who signed a four-year extension reportedly worth $100 million with the Trail Blazers. RJ Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick of Poole’s draft class, signed a four-year, $120 million extension with the Knicks.
Wiggins is coming off a four-year, $147 million deal once deemed toxic relative to his production. Green is coming off a four-year, near $100 million deal. Both may want to wait until free agency hits to see if they can field larger offers from other teams. Or they might opt to stay with a Warriors if they feel the team’s culture and playing style suites them best.
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“You can negotiate about buying your car, but if you have two or three weeks to decide what you want to do, it’s real but you don’t force a decision,” Myers said. “Sometimes things get done prior to a deadline and you see guys that are extended in certain situations. But many times as you approach a deadline, a couple of these guys don’t have a specific one. Jordan does. The good news for us is I don’t hear anyone that wants to leave. That would be a worse problem.”