I was curious about the player salaries of the Golden State Warriors and researched the numbers for the current 2017-2018 season. I knew that Stephen Curry was the most well paid player in the team (and the highest yearly salary in the league, as well), but wondered by how much?
In the summer of 2017, Curry was offered the max deal by the team as allowed by NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement — a 5 year $201 million dollar contract. It was expected that Curry, after winning his second NBA championship with the Warriors, would stay with the team, and it was also expected that the Warriors would not hesitate to offer the two-time MVP as much as it legally could. After all, Curry’s talent has been a big reason for the team’s success, and his MVP years happened when Curry was severely underpaid due to his previous contract, which was negotiated at a time when Curry’s future was not so sure.
Curry suffered from ankle injuries in the early part of his career (he missed 40 games in the 2011-2012 season alone), so when it came down to his contract in 2013, this liability forced him to accept a $44 million dollar deal over a four year span. As it turned out, it came at a great bargain for the Warriors, as within that time frame Stephen Curry grew into stardom, as the team, along with the newly appointed coach Steve Kerr, started its historic run. 2018 is the fourth straight year that the team reaches the Western Conference Finals, and it could probably achieve its first back-to-back championship, making it 3 titles in 4 years. It rivals any modern-day span of NBA dominance, including the Heat’s, Lakers, Spurs and even the 90’s Bulls.
So who’s the second most paid? Kevin Durant. KD also has some decisions to make in the 2018 off-season, as he will have to renew his contract as well. As of now, its expected he will remain in Golden State, but who knows? After that, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will soon be re-negotiating their salaries as well, with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston staying put for now since they negotiated their sums in the 2017 off-season.
As for the rest? Some, like Omni Casspi, are not even on the team as of now for the 2018 playoffs, and others are on rookie or veteran deals.
The salary discrepancy is alarming when you see that the rest of the players make well under $5 million — even under $1 million as is the case of the rookie, Jordan Bell.
But is Curry worth it? The organization thinks so, and all other 29 NBA teams would agree.
Looking at in in terms of percentage increase, it helps put it more into perspective. Curry’s salary is 4,152% higher than that of Jordan Bell’s.
I often like to relate the sports and business industries. There is a lot that business can learn from how sports teams are managed, and from which organizations are successful in sports (the majority are not, in terms of championships).
In this scenario however, I wonder how it must feel to play in the team (especially when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole) while knowing how different the salaries are? Of course for a rookie like Jordan Bell, who had no salary while in college, making just under $1 million for his first professional job ($815,615) is not a bad deal at all. But, still, everyone is expected to bring their A-game, in spite of what’s coming into your account. The reason it works in Golden State? Likely organizational culture.
Here are the salary details in table form: