The vaccination status of players is a political question, but also a basketball one. Particularly in San Francisco and New York, it significantly impacts availability. But unlike a twisted ankle or a strained hamstring, the players here chose to be unavailable, which brings an extra burden in the locker room.
So when the country’s leading epidemiologist speaks out on NBA players still reluctant to get vaccinated, and they make the evening news, their teammates start to feel their choice is less justified. Then you get to a point where Bijelica tells Wiggins to “get the shot” in passing. The pressure on Wiggins is only going to increase.
When asked about the Warriors starting small forward, Steph said the organization would have to “adjust accordingly” if he remains adamant. It’s one thing to get questions from the media, but when your teammates start to lose patience, it’s terrible news. What does “adjust accordingly” mean? Trading Andrew Wiggins.
“That’s where I think it’s getting with the Warriors. “You’re either in or you’re out.” You gotta declare on this season. And if you’re out they have to readjust plans. Not just to point of on road games they’ll have Andrew Wiggins, on home games they’ll not. That’s just not tenable. They’re gonna have to probably shop him, to be honest with you.”Anthony Slater, The Lowe Post
The Warriors are very thin at the SF position, and losing Wiggins for 41 games would be a significant blow for their chances. But even more so, it would ruin the locker room chemistry if they even tried the “he’ll play on road games” approach. If Wiggins chooses not to be available, it seems like he will lose the trust of his teammates.
Only a few years ago, his max contract was considered one of the worst in the league. While Wiggins has rehabilitated his reputation since joining the Warriors, he is still far from a player you’d immediately consider a max guy. So what would be the chances the Warriors get anyone of value in return? Better than you’d think, and the peculiarity of the local COVID regulations play a major role in this.
“He could play for 27 other teams, like all 82 games, which is a weird part of this scenario. Not only could he just play; they could technically trade him to the Clippers and he could play on opening night in Chase Center for the Clippers, even though he cannot play for the Warriors.”Anthony Slater, The Lowe Post
So the Warriors would be trading a 41 game player to someone who’d be getting an 82 game player. As a player of another team, Wiggins can play in Chase Center, but as a Warriors employee, he cannot. Still, we are not in trade scenarios, as the Warriors are banking on Wiggins caving and getting the vaccine before the season starts.
But, if the young forward decides to stand firm, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t start the season in a Warriors jersey.