Warriors' veterans believed young guard would respond well to $128 million contract

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Game Five
Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Game Five / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

When the Golden State Warriors handed Jordan Poole a four-year, $128 million extension ahead of last season, it seemed like a reasonable contract for a rising young guard in today's NBA climate.

At best Poole's trajectory appeared like he could become an All-Star calibre player, and at worst he at least seemed destined to be one of the best Sixth Men in the league. His growth from a G League player to key rotation piece was remarkable, culminating in the 2022 championship where Poole had a host of big moments.

Golden State Warriors' veterans believed Jordan Poole would respond well to his large contract extension last season

Poole was duly rewarded for his impact on that championship, and so too was Andrew Wiggins who also got a four-year extension. Yet both have largely underperformed since signing those deals, with the Warriors getting out from under the Poole contract before it even began.

In a recently published feature on Poole, Fox Sports' Yaron Weitzman delved into a number of issues including his extension. The report found that the Warrior front office and ownership had asked the team's veterans for their thoughts prior to giving the former first-round pick the huge deal.

"What they heard back was that if there was anyone who would respond well to getting paid, who would look at a lucrative contract as the beginning of the journey not the end, it was Poole."

Yaron Weitzman
Jordan Poole
2022 NBA Finals - Game Six / Elsa/GettyImages

That's an important factor given that, as acknowledged by Kevon Looney, Poole wasn't the easiest to play with early in his career. The veterans gave the front office the green light in the belief Poole would continue to develop into a huge part of their present and future.

Instead, Poole was traded to the Washington Wizards after a tumultuous fourth season that started with an infamous incident with Draymond Green. Fast-forward to now and Poole's contract is widely regarded as one of the worst in the league.

The 24-year-old is averaging 16.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists, shooting less than 41% from the floor and 32.1% from three-point range. The Wizards have been outscored by 455 in Poole's minutes this season, having recently been demoted back to a bench role on the worst team in the league.

While the impact of the Green punch continues to be debated, so too does the influence of the contract. Has Poole become complacent or content since signing the deal? Whether it has or not is hard to gauge, but what is known is that Warrior veterans were comfortable with Poole getting that sort of money.

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