The Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins was dealt a blow in the form of bad news from the NBA this week.
The League Office responded to Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from virus protocol, meaning he will have a decision to make before the regular season opens on October 19, when the Dubs take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for religious exemption,” the league wrote in an official statement Friday, September 24.
Wiggins will not be allowed to participate in Warriors’ home games throughout the course of this regular season until he fulfills the obligations of the NBA’s standardized virus protocol, which could cause a potential problem for the Dubs in every home game this season due to the public health mandates enacted by the State of California.
Warriors Would Suffer Without Wiggins
The Warriors expect to be fully healthy at some point during the 2021-2022 season for the first time in more than two years, as Klay Thompson is projected to rejoin Stephen Curry and Draymond Green several weeks, or possibly months, after the regular season opens in mid-October.
But the Warriors will be hampered until that time, and potentially after, without the help of Wiggins, who would otherwise likely serve as a starter and who produced meaningful offensive statistics for the team last season in the from of an 18.5 points per game average.
Despite the offense Wiggins can clearly offer the Dubs next season, after news of the forward’s position on the league’s mandatory protocol broke, big-time NBA analysts began offering opinions that the Warriors would be better off moving on from the high-paid forward in favor of someone less problematic.
NBA insider and daytime talkshow host Stephen A. Smith initiated the topic on ESPN’s First Take, saying Wiggins’ position on the league’s mandatory protocol has tied Golden State’s proverbial hands. The situation, Smith said, demands only one definitive solution.
“They should trade Andrew Wiggins today, period. Get rid of him. Send him someplace else,” Smith said on the popular ESPN morning sports program. “This is not a hard situation, not a hard decision for me.”
“Andrew Wiggins, right now because of the vaccination mandate in the city of San Francisco, would not be able to play in 41 home games for the Golden State Warriors,” Smith said. “What do you need him for, what good is he to you?”