Starting forward Andrew Wiggins has still refused to get vaccinated, and cannot play home games unless he does, leaving your Golden State Warriors in a real pickle less than a month from the season’s start.
San Francisco’s sterling vaccination rate of nearly 80% with at least one dose is thanks in great part to our fair city’s increasingly strict vaccination requirements. Among these is that you may not enter large indoor venues like the Chase Center without proof of full vaccination. And that applies to the Golden State Warriors players as well, as the NBA declared in early September that players would have to comply with their home city’s vaccinations rules, therefore Warriors players can’t play home games if they’re not vaccinated.
That crazy theoretical is now an unwelcome reality for the Dubs. The Chronicle reports that starting forward Andrew Wiggins has not been vaccinated, and has thus far refused, and that there is “increasing concern among the Warriors about [his] early-season availability.”
Shot selection has always been an issue for Andrew Wiggins https://t.co/uA9GjChaU3— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) September 23, 2021
A million people on Twitter have already made the “bad shot selection” joke, so no need to bother.
What Andrew Wiggins’ cousin’s friend told him would happen if he gets the vaccine pic.twitter.com/FwlWRVaJQC— everett (@okayeverett) September 23, 2021
Wiggins is a critical player and a quality starter, not some easily dispensable Ronny Turiaf or Kelenna Azubuike kind of back-bencher. The former rookie of the year was the Warriors’ second leading scorer last season, behind only Steph Curry. If you are inclined to say ‘Oh but we’ll have Klay back,’ we will not. Thompson will miss the beginning of the season, and the best-case scenario for his return is Christmas.
Steve Kerr when he walks in the locker room and sees Andrew Wiggins taking horse meds pic.twitter.com/5a0nhPBg8e— Denver📈 (@doubledworth) September 23, 2021
There is no NBA vaccination requirement, just a rule that players comply with their home team venue’s requirements. And the league is allowing for religious exemptions, with the Chronicle reporting “League sources believe the NBA will grant Wiggins a religious exemption.”
But that may be worthless. The SF public health department can deny that religious exemption, and to our recollection, Wiggins has never once invoked religion or dropped any kind ‘Jesus,’ ‘God,’ or ‘Man Upstairs’ reference in an interview. The DPH said in a statement to the Chronicle that “We are actively addressing the matter of requests for religious exemption from vaccinations across many industries and will work with our business and entertainment community on next steps."
The Warriors open their regular season on the road against the Lakers (Oct. 19), but then play their next nine of eleven at home.
The decision to not get vaccinated could potentially end up costing Andrew Wiggins $15.8 MILLION this season.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) September 23, 2021
In addition to the Warriors, players on only two other NBA teams could be forced to miss home games if they refused to get vaccinated:
Knicks and Nets. https://t.co/lflic9DMyX
Wiggins would lose $350,000 for each home game he missed, as this would not count as a legitimate injury. (Protracting that over the season, he’d lose $15.8 million!) We can only speculate on Wiggins’ potential trade value, but under these circumstances, any trade offer is going to be a laughable lowball, and rightfully so. The Warriors would be trading out of an unprecedented desperation that makes even a post-Carlesimo-choke Latrell Sprewell seem like an easy player to trade.
You can stand with Andrew Wiggins outside the arena during games. https://t.co/W14zhRBEBu— Sam (@YAnunoby) September 23, 2021
The irony, as we noted earlier this month, is that the NBA policy only applies to players’ home arenas. Unvaccinated players on visiting teams are still allowed to play at Chase Center.
DENVER, COLORADO - MARCH 03: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Will Barton III #5 of the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center on March 03, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. ( (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)