For the better part of two seasons, most close to the Golden State Warriors saw Andrew Wiggins as an eventual casualty of the team’s salary restrictions, but his blossoming role throughout the playoffs and performance in the NBA Finals may have forced a course change.
Wiggins took on a new role with the start of the playoffs and the implementation of a new small-ball lineup, becoming one of the team’s top rebounders and drawing the most difficult defensive assignments. Though many believed that Wiggins would be gone by the end of next season, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle now says the Warriors are discussing a max contract extension that will make him a permanent part of the team’s core going forward and potentially the bridge between eras.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Wiggins Could Get New Deal
As recently as May, Letourneau didn’t see a long future for Wiggins in Golden State. He speculated that the team would prioritize a contract extension for guard Jordan Poole and a new contract for big man Kevon Looney in the offseason, leaving any new deal for Wiggins out of reach.
“As I’ve written before, the most logical way for the Warriors to cut salary is to trade Wiggins before he hits unrestricted free agency in summer 2023,” he wrote at the time.
But on June 20 and in the wake of a fourth title in the last eight seasons, Letourneau reported that the Warriors were expected to discuss an extension for Wiggins during the summer. It would be a hefty contract, he reported.
“But given that Wiggins is fresh off his first All-Star selection and a memorable showing in the Finals, he figures to ask for nothing less than the max,” he wrote. “Giving him three or four more years beyond next season at around $37 million annually would have huge luxury-tax implications for the Warriors.”
He added that the Warriors would not rush any deal, likely seeing how Wiggins continues to fit over the next year before signing a new contract. He could struggle during that time, or rookie Jonathan Kuminga could grow into the role of two-way wing that Wiggins played so well in the playoffs, Letourneau wrote.
Wiggins Sees Future in Golden State
Wiggins has expressed a desire to stay with Golden State, saying he loves being part of the franchise.
“I would love to stay here,” Wiggins said. “Being here, this is top-notch. The way they treat the players … we’re all one big family. I feel like a lot of places may say that, but they show it through their actions.”
Wiggins will likely play a bigger role in the coming season, just as he did during the playoffs. It wasn’t until the start of the playoffs this season that head coach Steve Kerr was able to unveil the new small-ball lineup, which included Wiggins alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Poole. There had never been a point during the regular season that all five were healthy at the same time, and the lineup found great success throughout the playoffs.
Wiggins was seen as the key to this lineup. He drew the team’s toughest defensive assignments — guarding Luka Doncic in the Western Conference Finals and Jason Tatum in the Finals — and took on a bigger role in rebounding. He grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and said afterward that he’s willing to do whatever the team needs.
“I want to win,” he said, via SI.com. “I know rebounding is a big part of that. I just want to win. And I feel like sometimes we play small. So I just try to go in there and rebound, help the team out.”
Should he get an extension, the 27-year-old Wiggins could also help bridge the time between the current team and one of the future, where Poole is expected to take on a bigger role alongside James Wiseman and Kuminga.