Warriors star Andrew Wiggins (left)


Warriors star Andrew Wiggins (left)


Getty

Warriors star Andrew Wiggins

Depending on whom you listened to at the end of last month, either the Warriors insisted on Andrew Wiggins sitting out of the upcoming Olympic games in Paris or Wiggins and the Dubs mutually agreed that he should not play, not after a bummer of a 2023-24 season that saw him get off to a terrible start and not recover until well past the midway point of the season.

Either way, Wiggins will not be suiting up for Team Canada this summer. And while the Warriors’ interest in that is obvious—they don’t want Wiggins to get injured training or playing with his national team—it may well have suited their purposes more to have Wiggins in action.

“It was shortsighted, keeping him out,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “He is a tough guy to trade right now because, you know what he can do, he can be a star as a two-way player. But the last two years, he has slipped a bit and you just don’t know why exactly. Having him in the Olympics, on that stage, he could show his worth again.

“So, the safe bet was to keep him out. But if you wanted to help his (trade) value, get him out there. I think they would have been better off with him playing.”


Warriors Star Hunt Continues

The Warriors are actively seeking a trade for a star scoring option to put next to Stephen Curry this offseason. They tried to acquire Paul George, but that deal did not come together quickly enough, and George signed with the Sixers.

Now, the Warriors are reported to be the primary suitor for Jazz star Lauri Markkanen. To make such a deal work, it’s almost certain that Golden State would include the salary of Wiggins, who is entering the second of a four-year, $109 million contract extension he signed with the Warriors. He is slated to make $26 million this season, a useful number when trying to match salaries with an incoming star.

It’s doubtful a team like the Jazz would like to keep Wiggins long-term, but he would have value as a potential asset they could flip for picks or players during the 2024-25 season—especially if he could rebuild value by playing well early next year.

Wiggins struggled at times for the Warriors with an ankle injury last season. He averaged a career-low 13.2 points and shot just 45.3% from the field, 35.8% from the 3-point line. There is some rebuilding to be done when it comes to his game.

That process might have started at the Olympics. Except, Wiggins won’t be at the Olympics.


Andrew Wiggins ‘Was Fine,’ Canada GM Says

Wiggins was originally included on the Canadian 20-man roster, but was not present when the team began its training camp in Toronto two weeks ago.

The Athletic reported at the time that word from the Warriors was that, “the decision was made mutually by Wiggins and the team and Golden State could not preclude him from playing for Canada. This was a medical decision, team sources said.”

However, Rowan Barrett, the GM of Team Canada, disputed that notion.

Well, for us, Andrew was fine,” Barrett said. “We were talking to him consistently. He’s been training for weeks and weeks getting ready for this. And then I got a call from Golden State a day or two before camp saying that they’re holding him out. So, from what I see, this is not an Andrew decision. This is from the team.”

If that’s indeed the case, the team—the Warriors—might well regret not having him out there when it comes time to make a trade in earnest.

 

Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA, NFL and MLB for Heavy.com. He has written for Heavy since 2019 and has more than two decades of experience covering the NBA, including 17 years as the lead NBA reporter for the Sporting News. Deveney is the author of 7 nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney



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