If you were to list the Warriors' three best non-player assets at the moment, the $17.2 million trade exception they received as part of the Andre Iguodala trade with the Memphis Grizzlies last offseason certainly would be among them. The draft picks -- Golden State's No. 2 overall pick in 2020 and the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected 2021 first-rounder -- could bring about a new era of Warriors basketball in the not-too-distant future, but the massive trade exception could change their fortunes in the immediate.
With that $17.2 million trade exception -- which expires seven days after free agency begins -- the Warriors can absorb any player whose salary for next season is equal to or less than that amount. However, in doing so, it will cost Golden State a heck of a lot more than that.
The Warriors already are projected to owe about $69 million in luxury tax penalties next season, and any additional dollar added to the ledger will be multiplied --according to their tax bracket -- on top of that. As such, if they were to absorb a salary equal to the full value of the trade exception, it would increase that projected tax bill by about $76 million. Even if the Warriors were to absorb a significantly smaller salary with the trade exception, it would still cost them several pretty pennies.