In March, Andrew Wiggins said he would not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “Unless they make me do it.” Six months later, his thoughts on it have not changed.
There is “growing concern” in the Warriors organization about the availability of their starting forward before the 2021-22 season. according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, who reports that Wiggins remains unvaccinated. Local guidelines in San Francisco, where the Chase Center is located, will prevent Golden State players from entering their local stadium for games unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption. (Visiting players will follow different protocols).
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The NBA could grant Wiggins a religious exemption, but if that happens, the city of San Francisco could overturn the league’s ruling.
“We are actively addressing the issue of religious exemption requests for vaccines in many industries and will work with our business and entertainment community on the next steps,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement to the Chronicle. “We will provide further clarification on this issue.”
Simmons noted that the Warriors connected Wiggins with an Oakland doctor to discuss his hesitancy in getting the vaccine, but after a conversation with the doctor, he still “was unfazed in his decision against vaccination.”
What does this mean for Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors?
While the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have made clear that players will not need to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Wiggins could be forced to get vaccinated based on potential economic losses. The 26-year-old is expected to make more than $ 31 million this season, but could lose a significant amount of money if he misses games and is not available for team activities at local facilities.
Any stretch without Wiggins would be a huge challenge for the Warriors. In 71 games last season, he averaged 18.6 points while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from three-point range. He also improved defensively in his first full season with Golden State, finishing fourth among small forwards in ESPN Defensive Real Plus-Minus Metric after landing 85th in that position group the year before.
Wiggins will never be an MVP candidate like Stephen Curry or a revolutionary sniper like Klay Thompson, but his status could alter the course of the Warriors’ 2021-22 campaign.
Other NBA teams to monitor
Knicks and Nets players will also need to get vaccinated due to government policies in New York. Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks told reporters this week that there are a few hurdles on the list, but he’s “sure” everyone will be able to participate in training camp.
“I think we all understand what is at stake.” Marks said. “We have had very candid conversations. Those are individual decisions … Obviously it is out of our control. We are supporting vaccination and building a healthy team. And at this point, I think we are ready to go into the season. We don’t see That this, whether it’s a citywide mandate or if it’s the league’s mandate to follow, is some kind of obstacle for us to get a team out. “
NBA training camps are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 28.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.