SAN FRANCISCO — Amid the champagne showers soaking the Golden State’s locker room at the TD Garden, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins hopped onto Instagram Live to share the celebration with their supporters.
On the live stream, Poole looked at Wiggins and announced, “You’re going to get a bag.”
An uncontrollable smile spread across Wiggins’ face before he replied, “No, we’ll get a bag.” Poole repeated the same words back at the camera.
Wiggins, who is entering the final season of his $147 million rookie extension from 2017 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Poole, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, are both facing contract extensions before their next Become an off-season free agent. You have until October 17th to negotiate new contracts with the Warriors.
“I’d like to stay here,” Wiggins said at the Warriors’ exit interviews Saturday afternoon. “Being here is first class. The way they treat the players… we’re all one big family. I feel like a lot of places say that, but they show it through their actions.”
Wiggins arrived in Golden State in a trade stemming from Kevin Durant’s departure in 2019. At first there were questions about how effective the trade would be.
Wiggins left the Timberwolves with a reputation that suggested he was lazy. Many didn’t believe he was a hard worker or would be able to make a real impact on the Warriors — especially one that would help them win another title.
But by the end of the season, the message from the Warriors was that they wouldn’t have won without Wiggins. And he became the first player to earn his first All-Star nod and win his first title with the team he didn’t debut with.
“There’s been a lot of talk, people have something to say about every little thing, but now I’m glad I made it here,” Wiggins said. “People didn’t think I could ever be in that position or even be helpful on a championship team. But I am proving the doubters wrong and I will move on.”
As with Wiggins, there were many doubts about Poole’s future. After his 2019/20 rookie season, some questioned whether he would even have a future in the league. But this season, not only did he fill the shooting guard starting spot as Kay Thompson worked his way back, but he also started in place of Stephen Curry through the final month of the regular season — and the first few games of the playoffs — before he created his own role as the sixth man.
“He definitely deserved it [a new contract]’ Wiggins said. “Jordan is someone who works so hard, who makes his teammates better and can go on the pitch and dominate.”
Poole wasn’t as adamant as Wiggins when asked about returning to the Golden State, but it didn’t seem like he sounded eager to go elsewhere.
“To be completely honest, I haven’t even been able to fathom anything about this process,” Poole said. “I was so captivated by the championship. We know it’s going to happen, we put ourselves in situations to be successful and everything else will take care of itself.”
While signing Wiggins and Poole for extensions would be a step to prevent them from becoming free agents next summer, the Warriors have had a string of free agents this offseason.
Gary Payton II, Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee and Chris Chiozza will all be unrestricted free agents. Only Juan Toscano-Anderson and Quinndary Weatherspoon will be restricted free agents.
Of the upcoming free agents made available for exit interviews, all expressed a desire to remain in the Golden State.
Payton, who became a key player for the Warriors after finishing 15th on the roster earlier in the season, said he would “absolutely” love to stay at Golden State.
Payton, a journeyman who has spent most of his career in the G League and has been eliminated from five different teams, expects to be able to choose where he lands for the first time this summer.
After Looney’s breakout season, playing in every regular season and playoff game, he said he “definitely” wants to return to the team that drafted him.
“I want to be here again and again,” Looney said. “I want to come back and try to defend what we just won and be part of something special again.”
Porter signed a one-year deal with the Warriors to bring an experienced presence to the team. When he joined us last summer he saw winning a title as a possible outcome and now that it has happened he has also expressed a desire to come back for more.
“I know this team can fight for another championship again and it would be a great opportunity if I could stay here,” Porter said. “It would be great to be back here with this group of guys and do it all over again.”
Whether the Warriors can keep all of these players remains to be seen. They’re already the biggest spenders in the league.
But there’s clearly a shared desire between the front office and the players to bring a similar roster from this Championship year into next season.