For the last four years, the Warriors have sat atop the NBA. They'd prefer to stay there.
They haven't always finished on top, as evidenced by their defeat at the hands of the Raptors in the NBA Finals. But even in defeat, the Warriors -- as currently constructed -- still strike fear into the rest of the league.
It would be unwise to rule out their ability to compete for a championship next season. However, the fact of the matter is, Golden State enters the 2019-20 season without the prohibitive favorite label for the first time since Steve Kerr took over as head coach.
The severe injuries suffered by Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in Games 5 and 6 of the Finals, respectively, have leveled the playing field considerably, with both All-Stars expected to miss most, if not all, of next season. Both of them, as well as several other NBA stars are due to become unrestricted free agents on June 30, and the fallout of free agency could potentially reset the NBA landscape even further.
Of course, it's also quite possible that many of the free agency rumors that have been overanalyzed countless times over the last year amount to nothing whatsoever. Many of the superstars expected to depart their incumbent teams could instead switch gears and re-sign a max contract. Some of the teams already in the upper tier of the league hierarchy might be forced to disassemble for salary cap relief.
All options are on the table. A week from now, the NBA could look drastically different. Or, we might still be left with the same usual suspects.
The Warriors, clearly, would prefer the latter option. Re-signing both Durant and Thompson would go a long way towards ensuring it, but regardless of whether or not they do, this potential resetting of the NBA landscape isn't entirely in their control.
With that in mind, here are the Warriors' 15-most nightmarish scenarios for the fallout of free agency, starting with the scariest. Some are significantly more likely to occur than others, but all would have a considerable impact on Golden State's ability to compete for championships moving forward.