There was a prevailing belief that Andrew Wiggins, despite facing the toughest start to a season in his career, would eventually rediscover the form that made him a key player during the Golden state Warriors' Championship run two seasons ago.
Yet the Canadian, who was pulled from the starting lineup in favor of rookie Brandon Podziemski last month, has continued to struggle mightily, unable to improve his subpar shooting percentages while playing subpar defense relative to expectations.
As third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga continues his noteworthy progression, the spotlight on Andrew Wiggins intensifies, suggesting that he may be more dispensable than ever for the Golden State Warriors
According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, teams around the league believe that the Warriors will be open to trading the former All-Star.
"When I talk to other teams more and more, I'm hearing that there's an anticipation now that the Warriors will be open to trading Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins and [Jonathan] Kuminga, when they've played together, the Warriors would be the first to tell you it hasn't gone well."- Marc Stein
With the trade deadline on the horizon, the Warriors are poised to be among the most active teams in the league, and Wiggins could find himself at the center of trade discussions.
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Utah Jazz big man Lauri Markkanen are some of the notable names that have been linked to the Warriors in recent days, and as the team continues to hover around .500, the likelihood Golden State targets an All-Star caliber player at the deadline only increases.
In either case, Wiggins would figure to be a central part of any return, as his contract would be essential in facilitating the financial dynamics of the deal.
Wiggins signed a 4-year $109 million contract with the Golden State Warriors back in 2022, with a player option for the 2026/27 season. With three more seasons left on his current deal and his value at an all-time low, the Warriors cannot afford to sit back and wait for the veteran wing to work out all of his issues.
The organization displayed extreme patience with Wiggins last season when he missed north of 40 regular season games due to personal matters regarding his father's health. Expectations were that with an offseason to get back to his true self, Wiggins would return to his All-Star form from two seasons ago, but his production has been nowhere near enough on both ends of the floor, and he now finds himself in a limited role on the Warrior bench.
Upon his arrival back in 2019, fans questioned how Wiggins, who had previously operated with a score-first mentality during his tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, would adapt to the Warriors' free-flowing, motion-heavy offense.
With both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson sidelined for the majority of his first couple of seasons, Wiggins was forced to endure some rough basketball, but he accepted the opportunity to familiarize himself with the team's system and work through its many complexities. By the time the Warriors returned to full strength, Wiggins had developed into the ideal 3-and-D wing, able to space the floor on offense while defending multiple positions on the other end.
Fast forward to the present, and Wiggins is neither of those things. The 10-year vet is averaging just 11.7 points per game while shooting an abysmal 29.7% from beyond the arc — the worst mark since his sophomore season. Wiggins is averaging career lows in minutes, points, assists, and steals — a drop-off you'd never expect from a 28-year-old in just his 10th professional season.
Both the Warriors and Wiggins find themselves in precarious situations as the February 8th trade deadline looms. The coming weeks will be critical for both parties, as Wiggins aims to prove his worth while the Warriors' front office evaluates his future with the organization.