The new CBA spending fines are not something the Golden State Warriors are interested in. Jordan Poole had to leave because of this.
The “second apron,” which is a payroll of more than $17.5 million over the luxury tax threshold, is established in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement for the NBA as a violation that carries severe consequences. The $5 million taxpayer midlevel exception, restrictions on sign-and-trades and signing players on the buyout market, and the “freezing” of first-round selections seven years in advance so they cannot be transferred are just a few of the severe consequences for exceeding that threshold.
With those sanctions in place, Golden State determined it could no longer afford to keep Jordan Poole as its sixth man and pay him more than $30 million annually. Even though Poole had a falling out with Draymond Green and, in the words of Andre Iguodala, “looked like he was trying not to try” on defense, money played a significant role in the Warriors’ decision to trade for Chris Paul.
Although Paul’s salary is higher than Poole’s this year, his contract is completely non-guaranteed through 2024–25. As reported by Anthony Slater in The Athletic:
“They’re remodeling their roster with the intention of ducking the second apron next summer and maintaining flexibility. It was a core reason for the Poole-for-Chris Paul trade. Poole is owed $30.1 million for the 2024-25 season. Paul’s $30 million that season is fully non-guaranteed until June 28, able to be completely shed, if needed.”
That means that if Thompson is ready to accept a pay cut from his $43.1 million deal, the Warriors have room for him under the apron. To maintain the team’s flexibility, a potential Thompson deal should be in the $25–$30 million area.
Will that be sufficient? If Thompson accepts a hometown discount similar to what Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green did on their own contract extensions, it is. Although there hasn’t been any development to date, Thompson is probably aware of the price range Golden State will accept. He has the option to re-sign with the only team he has ever played for.