The NBA fined Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob $500,000 for violating the league's policy on publicly discussing collective bargaining talks, which included Lacob describing the luxury tax system as "very unfair" on a recent podcast, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The comments, aired on the Point Forward Podcast hosted by Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, included Lacob defending the Warriors' championship roster and league-leading payroll and luxury tax bills that exceed $340 million in the franchise's championship season of 2021-22.
"The hardest thing of all is navigating this luxury tax, unfortunately," he said. "I went back to New York this week for labor meetings. I'm on the committee. And you know, obviously, the league wants everyone to have a chance and right now, there's a certain element out there that believes we 'checkbook win. ...' We won because we have the most salaries on our team.
"The truth is, we're only $40 million more than the luxury tax. Now, that's not small but it's not a massive number. We're $200 million over in total because most of that is this incredible penal luxury tax. And what I consider to be unfair and I'm going to say it on this podcast and I hope it gets back to whoever is listening. Obviously, it's self-serving for me to say this, but I think it's a very unfair system because our team is built by ... all top eight players are all drafted by this team."
The Warriors paid $69 million in luxury tax in 2020-21, $170 million in 2021-22 and are projected to pay $181 million in 2022-23.
The NBA and Players Association have begun discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement.
ESPN's Bobby Marks contributed to this report.