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Ruminating on the cost of Wiggins Island

Andrew Wiggins is owed roughly $31.5 million in 21-22 and roughly $33.6 million in 22-23. Afterwards, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. There hasn’t been much talk about what the Warriors will do, probably because so much is in flux depending on how Klay Thompson bounces back, how the youngsters develop, and how well Wiggins plays the remainder of his contract.

Wiggins emerged as a solid two-way wing last year. That, coupled with the opportunity to select Jonathan Kuminga with the Timberwolves’ seventh pick, made Bob Myers’s chess match maneuvering of KD’s exit look like a water into wine moment. Minnesota nice! Though Wiggins was able to better control his primal urge to settle for low-percentage mid-range jumpers last year, his production as the second option behind Curry still did not live up to his rookie max contract. Let’s take a look at his 20-21 comparables:

Player

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

3P%

eFG%

FT%

TRB

AST

TOV

PTS

21-22 Salary

Andrew Wiggins

71

33.3

7.1

14.9

.477

.380

.543

.714

4.9

2.4

1.8

18.6

$31.5M

Tobias Harris

62

32.5

7.6

14.9

.512

.394

.556

.892

6.8

3.5

1.7

19.5

$36.0M

Gordon Hayward

44

34.0

7.1

15.0

.473

.415

.537

.843

5.9

4.1

2.1

19.6

$29.9M

Tim Hardaway, Jr

70

28.4

5.8

13.0

.447

.391

.560

.816

3.3

1.8

0.9

16.6

$21.3M

Harrison Barnes

58

36.2

5.5

11.1

.497

.391

.575

.830

6.6

3.5

1.6

16.1

$20.3M

Jerami Grant

54

33.9

7.4

17.3

.429

.350

.491

.845

4.6

2.8

2.0

22.3

$20.0M


Wiggins is far from the only NBAer to underperform his contract, his comps Tobias Harris and Gordon Hayward are near untradeable as well. For the type of production that Wiggins has brought to the table, his value is closer to the approximately $20-25M/yr types of contracts that Julius Randle, John Collins, and Lonzo Ball received this year. But the question is will Wiggins accept that type of contract? Does he even have to, will someone else offer him more? And do the Warriors even want to resign Wiggins, even at a non-max deal?

According to Spotrac, Joe Lacob paid ~$117M in luxury taxes in 20-21. He’ll pay a staggering ~$184M in upcoming 21-22, which is higher than the GDP of several Polynesian countries. Plus, he’s already on the hook for at least $87M in 22-23 with just Curry, Thompson, Green, Wiggins, and the recent draft picks. Lacob also missed a year and a half of live game revenues, one full year of revenues at the new Chase Center, so I doubt that he is keen on continuing to break his own luxury tax records year after year if he has the opportunity to jettison one of his huge contracts.

If Wiggins plateaus, I can see the Warriors trying to extend Wiggins at a discount after the 21-22 season, Wiggins turning it down to bet on himself, and either ending up like John Collins ($) or Dennis Schroder :(

But what if Wiggins improves upon his strong post-all-star break performance, ups his average to 20+ppg, and makes an all-NBA defensive team? Would that tempt Lacob into doubling down on his gargantuan payroll since he’s already paying through the nose for Curry, Thompson, and Green, so what’s one more? There’s also the pleasant possibility that we find ourselves with an embarrassment of riches where Kuminga and/or Moody develop promisingly in the next couple years. In that situation, perhaps the Warriors let Wiggins and the massive salary he may command walk to clear the books. Or Bob Myers may even try to flip Wiggins to an injury-plagued team for a trade exception or try to recoup the first round draft picks they recently traded away to Memphis and Oklahoma City as part of the Iguodala and Oubre deals. Very interested to see what kind of magic Bob Myers can perform.

Either way, enjoy the show and don’t look at the bill.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!