One of the saving graces for the 29 teams not named the Warriors has been the idea that in 2019, 2020 or thereabouts the luxury tax bill would become unsustainable and Golden State would not be able to afford the $300 million or so it would take to keep the band of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant together. The future implications were laid out last summer by ESPN’s Bobby Marks:
However, as Tim Kawakami lays out in The Athletic, the idea that their dynasty would crumble from losing talent is wishful thinking because their new arena, opening in 2019, is already set to effectively be an ATM machine.
According to Kawakami, the Chase Center will have “membership fees” of about $15,000-$20,000 per seat for season tickets, which get paid back without interest in 30 years. A Warriors official said that 79% of season ticketholders who have been pitched so far have agreed to pay them; additionally, most luxury suites are already sold, and Chase is paying about $20 million a year for the naming rights. Add in parking, concessions, actual ticket sales, and money from both local and national TV and even if the Warriors are paying $300 million a year for their players they are going to be just fine.
Now, perhaps Durant or Klay opt to sign somewhere else, borne out of a desire to prove they could win on another team or a previously un-manifested wish to maximize their last dollar. That could certainly happen. Or, maybe the Warriors don’t have the same injury luck, or maybe the LeBrakers or Celtics or someone else can rise as Golden State ages or gets complacent. Those are all ways the Warriors dynasty could end.
But, it ain’t going to be because of the luxury tax as many have hoped.