Philadelphia 76ers: Please don’t trade for Andrew Wiggins

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

For months, the Philadelphia 76ers have been waiting for a max contract player to, for one reason or another, fall out of favor with their current franchise and hit the trade market.

It’s why Daryl Morey has rebuffed (alleged) trade offers from teams like Indiana Pacers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, and why the team is currently bracing themselves for Ben Simmons to sit out of training camp and the regular season if need be.

Would Simmons actually sit out the remaining four years of his contract? Surely someone would step in and ensure that doesn’t happen, but in theory, his camp is reportedly digging in their heels and preparing for a long, uncomfortable fall.

Well, in a cruel twist of fate that only 2021 could provide, such a max contract player, one with experience playing alongside Joel Embiid no less, might have just become available, and the Philadelphia 76ers should do everything in their power to ensure he doesn’t come anywhere close to the City of Brotherly Love anytime soon.

Andrew Wiggins is a competitive disadvantage for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Calling Andrew Wiggins a polarizing player would be an understatement.

To some, he’s an encouraging 3-and-D combo forward who has noticeably developed his game over a revolutionary tenure in Golden State. While he may never become the sort of number one option many projected when he was coming out of Kansas in 2013, he’s certainly good enough to start for most NBA teams.

And to others, specifically fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves? Well. Wiggins is a certified bust on one of the worst contracts in the NBA.

The pushback on Wiggins in Minnesota got so severe that the team had to attach multiple first-round picks to his contract in order to execute a trade for D’Angelo Russell, another good starter who is on an inflated contract.

Did Wiggins fit better with the Warriors than D’Lo? Yes, even with Klay Thompson out, Russell was a strange fit next to Steph Curry and had a poor tenure in The Bay as a result. But it’s hard to look at Wiggins in a Warriors uniform and not think “Harrison Barnes could fill this role better for half of the money.”

So, why, you may ask, is Wiggins potentially on the block? Is it because of his contract? How about his on-court quirks?

Well yes, that all certainly plays into it somewhat, but the real reason why the Warriors may want to move on from Wiggins is because of his vaccination status.

That’s right, according to ESPN and a slew of other outlets, Wiggins is unvaccinated. While that isn’t technically against the NBA’s rules, as players don’t have to be vaccinated to make the team under the CBA, it is against the rules of the city of San Francisco, where the Warriors play their games at the Chase Center.

Under their current rules, folks need proof of vaccination and a negative test in order to attend public indoor events like a concert, a wrestling match, or a basketball game. That, apparently, includes the players on the court, which Wiggins would like to be.

If Wiggins isn’t granted a waiver for religious freedom or, ya know, takes the free shot, he could be held out of all 41 of the team’s regular season home games, in addition to any home playoff games barring a change to the ordinance.

In a league where the best ability is availability, missing 41 games is going to drop any player’s value pretty considerably.

For some teams, specifically ones that play in cities with similar policies, Wiggins is unacquirable. His value is beyond negative, and they surely wouldn’t make a move for his services unless they could get off of some horrible contracts and receive a bevy of picks in the deal.

Granted, the Thunder would probably still do the deal for a quartet of first-round picks, but that’s about it.

Philadelphia, by contrast, doesn’t have that particular ordinance and thus could theoretically acquire Wiggins if they see fit but, frankly, why the heck would they?

Wiggins isn’t a primary ball-handler, isn’t much of a facilitator, and has only made 34.1 percent of his 1,993 attempts from beyond the arc over his career. At best, he’s a decent third option for the Philadelphia 76ers’ offense, albeit one who can’t really get an offense going and a non-factor on defense.

While padding out a Wiggins-Simmons trade with players like Moses Moody and/or Jordan Poole, plus picks could help to get a deal done in a normal world, having to worry about whether or not he’s eligible to play on any given night creates far more problems than it provides solutions.

I mean, imagine this; the Sixers have a .5 game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the NBA. If they win, they get the Bulls in the second round, if they lose, they get the Brooklyn Nets. If the final game of the season is versus the Warriors – it isn’t, but imagine it is – Wiggins can’t play, and the Sixers suddenly have a massive competitive disadvantage when they can least afford it.

Alternatively, what if Pennsylvania or just the city of Philadelphia offers up the same vaccination mandate as San Francisco? Is 41 games of Wiggins – minus a few more with arena vaccination requirements – better than holding onto Simmons for a better deal?

No, god!

No, god, please no. 




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Even in a perfect situation, Andrew Wiggins is trade fodder. He’s $31.57 million in matching salary and a decent enough starter but not a player worthy of headlining a trade for an All-Star. But now, with his vaccination status potentially impacting his ability to play 50-plus percent of any given team’s games, Wiggins may just be the least valuable player in the NBA. If the Philadelphia 76ers trade for him, then they really don’t want to maximize Joel Embiid’s championship window at all.