SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole went live on Instagram Thursday night from inside a plastic-wrapped visiting locker room at TD Garden.
As other players celebrated by puffing cigars and spraying champagne, Poole went back-and-forth with an ebullient Andrew Wiggins about what was to come this offseason.
“You about to get a bag,” Poole said to Wiggins.
“You about to get a bag,” Wiggins replied in a high-pitched voice.
“No, no, no, no. You about to get a bag,” the 22-year-old fired back again.
Wiggins corrected him: “We about to get a bag.”
The Warriors will continue to relish in their title win for at least a few more days, with a championship parade scheduled for Monday in San Francisco, but there are crucial contract decisions that await the Golden State brass once it recuperates from the well-deserved partying.
The Warriors have seven players who are unrestricted free agents, including Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II. Meanwhile, Wiggins and Poole are both available for extension this offseason. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are, too, but the former appear to be more pressing.
It won’t be cheap to keep this team together, but team owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers have proven they’re not afraid to dish out some serious cash if they see a worthy return on that investment. The Warriors had the highest payroll in the league this season. And Wiggins predicts next year’s team, which could include a healthy James Wiseman and a full season of Thompson who missed 2 1/2 years with two severe injuries, is destined for greatness.
“As good as we were this year, I feel like next year we’re going to be even better,” he said.
Wiggins and Poole exceeded individual expectations this season, making them worthy candidates for extensions.
Wiggins went from top-pick bust to an indispensable piece in a championship-caliber team. Poole was this year’s breakout star, going on an end-of-the-season scoring tear when Stephen Curry went down with a foot injury.
Wiggins revamped his career with the Warriors, becoming a dominant two-way wing after being the scapegoat in Minnesota for most of his career. He’s thrived in his supporting role as he wasn’t relied on to carry the team’s offensive load, though his defense was a difference maker.
Wiggins earned his first All-Star nod this season and averaged 17.2 points on 46.6% shooting overall and a career-best 39.3% from 3-point land. He also grabbed an average of 4.5 rebounds per game.
But Wiggins played even better in the playoffs as the Warriors often relied on him to guard their opponent’s best shooter, including Jayson Tatum in the Finals series. Wiggins became a rebounding machine in the postseason, averaging 7.5 per game. He grabbed 10 or more boards six times in the playoffs and snatched a career-high 16 in Game 5 of the Finals.
Being a champion “felt amazing” for Wiggins. But silencing the doubters once and for was definitely an added bonus.
“Been a lot of talk, a lot of people’s opinions, they got something to say about every little thing, but right now, I’m happy to made it here,” Wiggins said. “A lot of people didn’t think I could ever be in this position or even be help on a championship team. But I feel like I’m proving the doubters wrong and I’m just going to keep it going.”
Next season will mark the final year of Wiggins’ five-year, $147 million deal, which he signed with the Timberwolves when he was 23. While he’s up for a possible extension, the Warriors could also use him as a viable trade piece. What they might do remains to be seen. However, Wiggins has made it clear he would like to stay with the Warriors long term.
“I would love to stay here. Being here is top notch,” Wiggins said. “The way they treat their players, we’re all a big family. A lot of places might say that, but here their actions show it.”
However, Poole’s contract extension might be a little pressing because it has to be finalized before the regular season tips off.
Poole, 22, is set to make $3.9 million next season, though he’s eligible for a rookie-scale extension.
Poole, the 28th pick in the 2019 draft, wasn’t named Most Improved Player this season, though many — including Green — believed he should’ve been. Poole went from averaging 12 points during the 2020-21 season to 18.5 points this season while playing a bigger role with the team. While he had up-and-down showings in the postseason, Poole proved he can show up in big moments as he hit a pair of buzzer-beating 3-pointers in the Final series.
Wiggins is rooting for Poole to get a pay day this offseason.
“He definitely deserves one,” said Wiggins, who lauded Poole’s hard work and dedication. “He makes his teammates better, he’s young and he can go out there on the court and dominate. We’ve seen it this playoffs and throughout the year, the sky’s the limit for him, he’s only going to get better, he deserves everything.”
Poole said he hasn’t given much thought to the possibility of signing a new contract.
“I only stayed in school for two years so you’re asking the wrong person,” he said. “I guess we’ll have to see.”
Still, Poole believes he and Wiggins put themselves in situations to be successful going forward.
“Everything will take care of itself,” Poole said.