The Golden State Warriors could have a difficult and expensive decision coming sometime within the next year — whether they can afford to keep both rising star Jordan Poole and versatile wing Andrew Wiggins.
Both Poole and Wiggins played key roles in the team’s title run last season, and both are now eligible for extensions. It would be expensive, but not impossible, for the team to keep both, but insider Connor Letourneau believes that if the Warriors had to pick between the two, Wiggins may end up on the trade block.
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Hard Choices for Warriors
As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Letourneau noted, giving Poole a contract extension is seen as the top priority for the Warriors, though the timing is still in question. The team has until the end of the summer to decide whether Poole gets an extension, but could decide to wait longer to see whether he can match the breakout season in 2021-22.
“They are expected to sit down with Poole soon to discuss an extension,” Letourneau wrote. “Whether one gets done, though, will depend on just how much money he asks for. If he wants at or near the max, the Warriors might prefer to let things play out and wait until he hits restricted free agency in 2023.”
The Warriors are likely taking the same approach with Wiggins, Letourneau noted, potentially putting off a decision until next year. If the cost of both contracts ends up being too high, he believes that Wiggins could end up on the trade block.
“By waiting, the Warriors give themselves more options,” he wrote. “Perhaps Wiggins struggles and can be had next summer at a lower rate. Perhaps the Warriors decide they can’t keep both Wiggins and Poole, so they start looking into trade packages involving Wiggins.”
But even a new contract may not be enough to keep Wiggins in the Bay. A Western Conference executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the Warriors could still trade Wiggins even if he signs a new deal.
“It is likely that they will talk about an extension, maybe get him locked up, then look to trade him when his contract is secure,” the executive said.
Both Wiggins and Poole had career-best seasons for the Warriors last year. Wiggins averaged 17.2 points per game, while Poole scored 18.5 points per game.
Wiggins Wants to Stay
Wiggins has made it clear he wants to stay with the Warriors, praising the franchise for how he’s been embraced.
“I would love to stay here,” Wiggins said, via ESPN. “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.”
If the decision on Wiggins remains tied to Poole’s extension, then it may not be coming soon. There is growing sentiment that the Warriors may need to wait before moving forward with an extension for Poole, evaluating whether he can remain at the same level for more than one season.
‘”What’s the upside in locking him in now?’” one team cap strategist told Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. ‘”He’s not Luka Doncic or Donovan Mitchell, who’ve proven they can carry a team. He’s close. If he does it again, you pay him. But prior to this year he was a borderline rotation player.’ ”