Why Andrew Wiggins doesn’t have to leave and the Warriors can really score a checkbook win

Why Andrew Wiggins doesn’t have to leave and the Warriors can really score a checkbook win

The Golden State Warriors could wrap up the NBA championship with a win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night in Game 6 of the Finals.

If that happens, could that be Andrew Wiggins’ final game in a Warriors uniform? That’s a frightening prospect for Dubs fans, who have come to admire — even love — the man they call Wiggs. And to his teammates, who would be losing a brother.

Wiggins has been an expensive piece of the Warriors’ puzzle, and in the playoffs, especially in the Finals, he has played so beautifully that he might have priced himself off the team.

Beautifully? Yes. In a slide show of Chronicle photographers’ work, some of the shots of Wiggins seem to be misframed. Look closer, though, and you see that Wiggins’s body is at dramatic, dynamic angles, like a motorcycle racer bending into the curve, because he plays with freakish athleticism.

The Celtics are advertised as a much more athletic team than the Warriors, but in the Finals, nobody is out-athletic-ing Andrew Wiggins. Or out-hearting him. He has long been remarkably athletic, but this season, Wiggins has tapped into a deeper well of will, fully basketballizing his amazing physical talent.

So significant is Wiggins’ contribution to the Warriors that there is a buzz that he would rate consideration for Finals MVP. That’s an overreaction, but Wiggins’ inspired play makes that at least plausible.

A parallel and disturbing buzz is the growing fear among Warriors fans, and no doubt among Warriors players, that this might be it for Wiggins.

This offseason, Golden State owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers will have to decide which players to keep and which to let go, because it would be prohibitively expensive to keep everyone.

Wiggins? Gary Payton II? Kevon Looney? Otto Porter Jr.? Jordan Poole? Pick and choose whom you’re going to turn away from the lifeboat.

But here’s an idea: Keep everyone. Starting with Wiggins.

That will require a poop-ton of money beyond next season, for which he’s under contract. We just checked the latest Forbes rankings, and that’s exactly how much money Lacob has.

If the Warriors win the NBA Finals, Lacob and Myers — and head coach Steve Kerr and the players — will have achieved a miracle, a championship for the ages.

There will be a glorious parade, then Lacob and Myers will start figuring out which players to get rid of. GP-Two, good luck and thanks for stopping by. Wiggs, please accept this engraved gravy boat as a token of our appreciation for your service.

Wiggins, of course, will be the center of attention. He has elevated his game and willingly blended it into the Warriors’ master plan.

When the Warriors picked up Wiggins in February 2020, he was a perennial selection to the NBA All-Underachiever first team. Now, his teammates and coach adore him. But the Warriors will need to either sign him to a max deal or trade him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

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