SAN FRANCISCO — It took a moment for Jordan Poole to soak it all in, wearing the hat and T-shirt with confetti dropping from above at Chase Center as the Golden State Warriors clinched a trip to the NBA Finals.
If it’s a feeling he wants to help duplicate, the punitive luxury tax penalties won’t be a deterrent for the Warriors to keep him.
Warriors president of basketball operations and general manager Bob Myers cut off the question before it could be finished, flatly saying “no” when asked by Yahoo Sports if financial concerns would keep the franchise from keeping one of its youngest, most productive players.
“No, no,” Myers told Yahoo Sports. “I mean, thankfully [I] work for an ownership group in Joe [Lacob] that has committed all kinds of resources to winning. And I know that because every time I asked him about roster and strategy, it’s always winning.”
It’s not exactly a choice Poole or the Warriors have to address this offseason, as Poole is finishing his third season — leaving the option for the two to come to terms on a rookie-scale extension before October. If they don’t come to a deal, Poole would hit restricted free agency in July 2023.
“You don’t need me to tell you what our payroll is. It’s pretty high,” Myers told Yahoo Sports. “So he just wants to win. And we’ve spent a lot and we’ve kept all the players we want to keep, so I don’t see that changing.”
The Warriors’ payroll is some $40 million over the luxury tax threshold of $175 million, which means as a luxury-tax repeater, the bill could almost equal dollar-for-dollar of player salaries. However, there are estimates the Warriors are bringing in nearly $100 million in playoff revenue alone, so it’s not like Lacob and the team ownership group will cry poverty, as Myers alluded to, especially in the name of winning.
The Warriors could try to lock up Poole for a long-term deal before he could even test free agency in 13 months, especially with Andrew Wiggins being up for free agency at the same time.
Poole’s rookie-scale maximum extension would put him in the five-year range nearing $190 million. The class of 2019 will be up for extensions this summer, meaning Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Tyler Herro and Poole will headline matters.
Any extensions agreed to won’t kick in until after the 2022-23 season, and the Warriors exercised Poole’s fourth-year option this past October for $3.9 million, making him one of the biggest bargains in the NBA, let alone on the NBA Finals stage.
Poole performed efficiently and under control during the Western Conference finals, shooting 64% and 40% from 3-point range against Dallas in the five-game series. He often resisted the urge to take bad shots or to disrupt the offense, and it has followed suit in what he’s done through this playoff run (53% shooting, 39% from three).
After years of misses late in the first round, the Warriors brass struck gold with Poole in 2019, and after a shaky start, he began finding his footing last season before breaking out this year. He’s not cut in the mold of Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, so it took some time to figure out the best way to deploy the scoring guard from Michigan. He tests and stretches defenses more inside the 3-point line, but is just as aggressive and potent from long range as Curry and Thompson.
Poole finished fourth in the Most Improved Player balloting, averaging 18.5 points and four assists in 76 games, while also solidifying the Curry-less minutes when he sits to start the second and fourth quarters.
“From Day 1, just being able to try to put my imprint on the team in a positive way,” Poole said of his role, following the Game 5 clincher. “Whether it was in the locker room, asking questions and finding ways to fit in and learn and really thrive by being myself alongside these greats, basketball greats, from the coaching staff all the way to the players.”