Want to win a checkbook? ESPN star has a chance at Warriors after victory

SAN FRANCISCO — After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a Warriors win that put them one game away from a fourth title in eight years, Brian Windhorst went from ESPN to SportsCenter and decided to embarrass himself.

“They have a payroll of $340 million when you consider taxes,” Windhorst said of Golden State. “You don’t just have to beat the Warriors on the field, you have to beat their checkbook. Nothing like Andrew Wiggins tonight, but this was a checkbook win for the Warriors. †

A “checkbook win”.

Whatever happens in the next few days was not meant as a compliment.

No, it was meant to undermine the Warriors’ success this season.

And that’s fine. Inappropriate, but good. Heaven knows I can deliver a good pot shot too.

But what really bothers me about this view is that it carries water for the cheap NBA owners, who would rather complain about a rich team than actually invest in their team.

That’s the embarrassing part.

There are plenty of “rumblings” around the NBA that owners don’t like Golden State spending. The Warriors have the highest payroll in the league at $178.9 million as per USA Today, and with their luxury tax payments, they are indeed close to $340 million for this season.

But how is that anything but a good thing?

Not just for Bay and Warriors fans and Steph Curry’s great-great-great-grandchildren, but for the league in general?

It is not the case that the luxury tax will just disappear.

And wouldn’t it be ideal for a team to actually spend money on their own players in an effort to have the best team possible?

The Warriors have not broken any rules, nor are they pushing any boundaries – they play within the confines of the NBA rules and are severely punished for simply not being cheap.

They pay luxury tax – which increases the more you spend – because they want to win.

Apparently that’s not a universal wish in the NBA.

The Warriors are not the basketball equivalent of the Steinbrenner Yankees who go out and use the Oakland A’s as a farming team. It is also not a sports wash situation in Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain.

No, the Warriors spend money on their own players with money they have brought in through investments in their basketball product.

Even putting a pejorative tone on such an undertaking is ridiculous.

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