With no first-round draft pick, the Warriors have a tough summer ahead

with no first-round draft pick, the warriors have a tough summer ahead

Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry

The 2024 NBA playoffs won’t feature the Golden State Warriors. They were eliminated by the Sacramento Kings in Tuesday’s play-in tournament contest. The loss culminated in a difficult season for head coach Steve Kerr’s roster, which has endured poor performances, injuries and suspensions.

Unfortunately for Golden State, there’s no clear route back to contention. Their star trio of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are all in the final phase of their careers. Thompson is also entering free agency. Their young contingent of players need continued minutes and consistent roles for continued improvement.

Golden State doesn’t possess their own first-round pick for the upcoming draft – which could potentially land in the lottery – either. The selection is top-four protected, though it’s unlikely the Warriors’ selection would land that high. As such, it’s likely to convert to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Earlier this season, owner Joe Lacob told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami that the Warriors would likely look to duck under the tax apron after years of being charged repeater penalties.

“Our Plan 1, or 1A, is actually we’d like to be out of the tax, and we think that we have a way to do that,” Lacob said. “That kind of is the plan, not just under the second apron. I’ll tell you why that’s important, because the truth is that we need to be out of the tax two years out of the next four, below the tax line, in order to get this repeater thing off our books. We don’t want to be a repeater. It’s just so prohibitive, not to say we wouldn’t do it if we had to, but you’ve gotta look at what the downside is to doing that.”

If the Warriors are looking to shed salary, building a contending team around Curry and Green will be difficult. They must convince Thompson to take a team-friendly deal. They will also need to find valuable rotation players at the tail-end of the free-agent market. Convincing older players to take the veteran minimum is much more difficult when you have not made the conference finals in either of the past two seasons.

Kerr and Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy face a tough summer full of difficult decisions. They’ve straddled two timelines for multiple years. They’re now reaching an inflection point. Either they rebuild around their veteran stars or they strip the team down to the studs and build around its younger talents, with Curry spearheading their offense.

Two straight early postseason exits will surely sting. Now, the Warriors have an opportunity to realign on their future direction.

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