Warriors Players with Most at Stake During 2022-23 NBA Season
The Golden State Warriors have a title to defend during the 2022-23 NBA season.
They also have an aging core trying to soak up the remainder of their primes, and a young nucleus out to prove itself on basketball's biggest stage. If that's not enough, several key performers have contract uncertainty just ahead and, therefore, tens of millions at stake.
How's that for pressure?
Every player on this team faces significant expectations, but the following three will feel the weight of them more than the rest.
Jordan Poole needs a new contract between now and next offseason.
The Warriors could lock him into an extension now, but it would likely require him to give a discount—or a potential discount, at least. Something in the $100 million range seems relatively workable for both sides.
Then again, Poole could play this out and see what happens if he can orchestrate a second consecutive leap. His 2021-22 breakout was incredible (among other things, he increased his scoring from 12.0 to 18.5 points and upped his assists from 1.9 to 4.0), but he still has another tier or two he can hit as an offensive weapon.
If Poole played his way into next season's Most Improved Player race, he could potentially position himself for a max contract netting him roughly $190 million.
Andrew Wiggins was objectively awesome last season.
His schooling in Golden State University clearly paid off and manifested in everything from sped-up decision-making and sharper shooting rates to some of the best on-ball defense in the business. If Stephen Curry was somehow ineligible for Finals MVP, Wiggins might have been a lock to take home the hardware.
All of this could be great news for Wiggins' bank account—but only if he sustains this success.
With unrestricted free agency awaiting him after the season, Wiggins could have max money waiting for him if he plays his cards right. Should he falter, though, with his consistency and shooting and lose some of the gains he's made in Golden State, that could scare off suitors who still remember his frustratingly inconsistent version who never managed to move the needle for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Once the Warriors spent the No. 2 pick of the 2020 draft on James Wiseman, the 7-footer seemed locked in as the starting center of their future—if not their franchise focal point.
Two seasons later, though, does anyone have any idea where he stands with the Dubs?
His rookie run was rocky, as his physical tools and budding skills shined but not enough to mask the raw nature of his game or less-than-ideal instincts. His sophomore season never got off the ground, as it was erased by a knee injury that prematurely ended his rookie campaign.
That's the extent of what he has shown the Warriors so far, and it's hard enough to think they see a ton of certainties with his future. This next season could go a long way toward establishing his place within the organization. There's a scenario in which he dazzles his way into a major extension next summer and perhaps another in which he gets dangled for better win-now talent ahead of the deadline.