The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years. Keeping the core of a championship-caliber roster together for nearly a decade does not come cheap.

Golden State has the most expensive roster in the NBA. The Warriors’ payroll of more than $184 million in player salaries is comfortably the highest for the 2021-2022 season, according to Spotrac

Stephen Curry is the NBA’s highest-paid player with a $45.78 million salary. Klay Thompson makes a shade under with $38 million. Andrew Wiggins is third on the Warriors with a $31.5 million salary.

Draymond Green is in the middle of a four-year contract worth close to $100 million. The Warriors locked up the defensive stalwart three years ago, sparing no expense in search of more championships. 

It isn’t just player salaries that Warriors owner Joe Lacob has agreed to pay in order to keep Golden State in the title hunt. The Warriors’ payroll is well above the NBA’s $136.6 million luxury tax threshold. The result is an estimated luxury tax bill of $170.33 million, according to Spotrac, on top of what Golden State is paying its players.

The Brooklyn Nets, by comparison, finished the season second in the NBA with a $172.8 million payroll, according to Spotrac. The Nets had an estimated $97.73 million luxury tax bill.

Being among the NBA’s biggest spenders doesn’t guarantee playoff success. With the league’s second and third-highest payrolls, the Nets and Los Angeles Clippers failed to win a single 2022 playoff game.

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals with the NBA’s 11th-highest payroll. Only the Oklahoma City Thunder spent less on player salaries than the Memphis Grizzlies, who pushed Golden State to six games in the second round of the playoffs.

The Warriors had two painful years before getting back to the NBA Finals. Golden State had the NBA’s worst record two seasons ago, following the departure of Kevin Durant. The Warriors came up short in the 2021 NBA play-in tournament. 

Thompson signed a five-year, $190 million guaranteed contract in the summer of 2019. Injuries kept him out of NBA action for 31 straight months. Curry only played five games in the 2019-20 season while making a salary of around $40 million.

Golden State reportedly generated a league-high $4.175 million in gate receipts for the 2021-22 regular season. The Warriors saw their gate receipts increase by 19% compared to 2018-19 in the venue’s first year of being able to have a capacity crowd for an entire season.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after winning the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award after a 120-110 win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at Chase Center on May 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images