The Golden State Warriors have learned they will leave the equivalent of one year's worth of Kevin Durant's next contract behind in Oakland when they leave.
Oh, well. Sometimes the cash cow gives, and sometimes the cash cow taketh away.
Arbitrator Rebecca Westerfield declared in a ruling issued Monday that the Warriors owe the remaining $40 million of the debt incurred in renovating Oracle Arena.
The team, the city of Oakland and Alameda County argued over clauses regarding the arena upgrades in asked by former owner Chris Cohan in 1996 that changed and improved the lower bowl to expand capacity from 15,025 to its current 19,596.
The Warriors claimed that they had no obligation to repay the last $40 million once they leave for San Francisco. The team has paid $7.5 million per year toward the $150 million renovations, but there was still a final $40 million to be paid, and the two sides argued over the language in the lease.
The ruling should barely faze Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and the other investors given that the team has increased in value from $425 million to a shade over $3 billion, a nearly eight-fold increase in eight years. But $40 million is $40 million, and that $40 million could have been thrown in the Durant kitty, or the Draymond Green kitty, or the Klay Thompson kitty, or in a weird case, the DeMarcus Cousins kitty. Or maybe just go to the investors as a holiday bonus.
The retirement of the debt will leave the arena renovations paid for just as the team is leaving for the Chase Center this coming season, barring unforeseen delays. The Warriors reacted to the ruling as expected in a statement Monday, saying they "will fulfiull any debt obligations" owed.
The dispute also would seem to end the financial links between the team and the city and county on the arena. They remained on a modified lease since 2016 while the new arena was being constructed, the last a two-year extension.
Thus, the only real thing for the sides to argue about between now and departure, then, would be the costs of security for the upcoming parade in June. But we may be getting ahead of ourselves a bit.