Price increases for Warriors’ Breakout Star: Insider
The Golden State Warriors will soon face a decision on what to do with breakout star Jordan Poole, and an insider believes the longer the franchise waits, the more costly that decision could become.
Poole, 23, has had a near-unprecedented breakthrough over the past season-and-a-half, going from the edge of the Warriors’ roster to one game away from the starting lineup and a key part of the recent title chase. He averaged 18.5 points in 30 minutes per game last season and now looks to be the centerpiece of the youth movement for a franchise looking to remain in title contention for many years to come.
Poole became eligible for a rookie-wide extension in July, and Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area thinks some recent contracts for Poole’s peers could drive the Warriors’ price up.
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Poole’s price tag goes up
As noted by Dalton, the Warriors have until Oct. 17 to reach a deal with Poole on a rookie extension or he will head to restricted free agency next summer. He noted that three recent contracts indicate the Warriors could pay dearly for their young star.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons and Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, both drafted the year before Poole, signed $100 million contracts this offseason and both have similar if not slightly worse stats than Poole. The New York Knicks and swing guard RJ Barrett just finalized a rookie-scale extension that could be worth up to $120 million, and Johnson noted that Poole is already more accomplished.
“Throughout the playoffs, Poole was the Warriors’ second-best offensive player at age 22 in his first crack of the Biggest Stage,” he wrote. “[Steph] Curry was the only Warriors player better on that side of the ball. Not a bad company to be in. Barrett made the playoffs once and averaged 14.4 points in a first-round loss where he shot 38.8%. In the playoffs overall, Poole averaged 17.0 points and shot 50.8% from the field for the champions.
Johnson noted that the Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported in late June that Golden State’s starting point with Poole would be four years and $100 million, but said the price has likely increased since then.
Warriors face tough decisions
The Warriors will have a number of decisions to make in the coming year. Beyond their decision with Poole, Golden State also has three main players who will be eligible for extensions – Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. Athleticism Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II have written that Wiggins is most likely to be finished, and the team will likely wait to see if Poole can continue his breakout season before making a final call on him.
“But the Warriors seem determined to maintain flexibility as they continue to look for ways to eliminate their future tax bills,” they wrote. “They can wait another summer on Poole, reassess their roster and priorities, while ultimately being able to match any contract they find.”
While it may give the Warriors some relief if Poole fails to match his breakout year, it could also mean an even bigger contract if he continues to play as he did in their recent season of title.
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