Andrew Wiggins had arguably the best season of his life in 2021-22, earning his first career All-Star bid and unlocking a new aspect of his game in the playoffs.
So when the Golden State Warriors wing signed a four-year, $109-million contract extension just before the start of this season, some insiders were surprised at the low dollar number and that Wiggins was willing to sign a deal now rather than trying for a potentially bigger contract in free agency.
Wiggins explained his reasoning this week, telling NBA.com’s Mark Medina that he has formed a close connection to the franchise and has aspirations of being known as a “Warriors legend” one day.
Wiggins Happy to Stay in the Bay
Going into this offseason, there were question marks about whether the Warriors would offer an extension to Wiggins. The team had some expensive decisions looming, especially what to do about Jordan Poole. After a breakout season, Poole was eligible for a rookie-level extension, and the Warriors announced on October 15 that he was getting a four-year, $140-million deal.
Later that same day, the Warriors announced the deal to keep Wiggins for the next four years as well. The former No. 1 overall pick said he had been in discussions with the Warriors throughout the offseason and the two sides ultimately landed on a number that he liked.
“We went back and forth a lot,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it’s a cool number. That’s why I was ready to get started and put it all behind me so I could get ready for the season with no worries.”
Medina asked why Wiggins was willing to take a “pay cut,” passing up the chance for a bigger contract after this season. Wiggins said he didn’t want the uncertainty of waiting, and instead locking down his future with the Warriors organization now.
“You never know what can happen,” Wiggins said. “I like it here. They treat me well, and it’s a good organization. They’re a winning organization. I didn’t want to leave, unless I had to do.”
Wiggins Wants to Go Down in Warriors History
Wiggins was a key part of Golden State’s title run last season, taking on an unusual role throughout the playoffs. It wasn’t until the start of the playoffs that the team’s core players — Wiggins, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole — were all healthy at the same time and head coach Steve Kerr rolled them out together as a small-ball lineup that gave opponents fits.
But this lineup also required Wiggins to take on some of the most difficult defensive assignments and serve as a primary rebounder, leading to him grabbing a career-best 16 rebounds in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics and averaging 7.5 rebounds per game throughout the playoffs.
Wiggins has continued that role into this season, averaging a career-best 6.2 rebounds per game through the first four games of the year.
Wiggins told Medina that he hopes to become a long-term fixture in Golden State, being remembered alongside the players who helped the team to three other titles in the last eight seasons.
“Andre [Iguodala], Draymond, Klay, Steph — those are Warriors legends and Bay legends,” Wiggins said. “Hopefully by the time I’m done, people will look at me like that. I just have to keep putting in the work and accomplish what they have accomplished. That is a lot of motivation. They have accomplished so much while they’ve been here with all of their titles and dominating the league. I’m trying to follow what they did.”