HomeSportsWiggins' Warriors future looks tenuous after a frustrating season

Wiggins’ Warriors future looks tenuous after a frustrating season

Wiggins’ future, with Warriors looking weak after a frustrating season, originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Of the things that felt clear after general manager Mike Dunleavy’s 28-minute press conference, followed by a 46-minute session with coach Steve Kerr, one is that the Warriors don’t seem committed to keeping Andrew Wiggins.

Dunleavy and Kerr discussed re-signing Klay Thompson to keep him with old teammates Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. They commented on the futures of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, who are both eligible for contract extensions. Both said they would welcome another year with Chris Paul.

However, little mention was made of the man who was Golden State’s small forward for the past three-plus seasons.

This probably wasn’t necessarily intended that way, but it was glaring nonetheless – especially when Kerr discussed Kuminga.

“Can he be a 3?” Kerr asked rhetorically. “That’s a big question. And I don’t know the answer to it. I’ll know that as we continue to help him and he continues to learn how to create distance and make his shot a little bit faster and catch and shoot more comfortably, but also make the right measurements. Because as a 3 you handle the ball more. Can he become a better passer? I think he sees the floor pretty well, but his basic passing skills need to improve if he’s going to play the 3.

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“We need him to play the 3 if we want Trayce [Jackson-Davis] there at the 5 and Draymond [Green], at the 4. That would ideally be a great defensive formation, athletic and long. But we as a team are not ready for that yet.”

In short, Kerr believes Kuminga and the Warriors will be best served if he can refine his skills at small forward.

Kerr’s comments take on significant significance when added to the context of Kuminga’s comments during his season-ending press conference on Wednesday.

“It will all depend on how I get through this summer,” Kuminga said about taking another leap toward his potential and potentially becoming an All-Star. “It will just depend on how I get through this summer. Because everything is possible. And I feel like I could do it, continue next year, it all comes down to what kind of summer I’m going to have.

This was minutes after Kuminga met Kerr. The coach expressed his wishes for the player. Kuminga heard the message and realized he had to continue to sharpen his game.

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“JK had a really good year, definitely a breakout year,” Kerr said. “I think he became more and more confident in his game. One thing that was interesting for us is that when we made a shift in the starting lineup mid-season and had Draymond at the 5 and Wiggs and JK combined at the 4, it was very helpful for JK to get the ball with more space and go downhill. .”

Although Kuminga played both forwards during the season, he started at power forward when Wiggins was a small forward. When Kerr Jackson-Davis started at center for the stretch run, Green slid forward and Kuminga came off the bench.

Let’s be clear: Kuminga won’t be on the bench much longer.

Warriors CEO Joe Lacob, who has already lost one high lottery pick — James Wiseman — undoubtedly wants the 21-year-old Kuminga to be a key player. Probably as a small forward.

Wiggins has been entrenched at third since arriving via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2020. He played 299 games (including playoffs) with the Warriors, including 287 starts.

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It wasn’t until this season that Wiggins came off the bench for Golden State. He struggled through most of the first half, taking a brief leave of absence along the way for personal reasons.

Wiggins has three seasons and $84.7 million left on his contract, with a player option in Year 3. It’s a team-friendly deal if he plays well, and too much if he doesn’t. And its excellent games are surpassed by those that can best be described as ordinary.

Wiggins’ name has been mentioned several times in trade talks since coming to Golden State in February 2020. There was speculation as the Warriors headed toward the trade deadline two months ago.

Lacob and Dunleavy didn’t make any major changes then, but they almost certainly will in the coming months. And Wiggins will almost certainly be part of the conversation.

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