The Golden State Warriors, along with the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, will be among the NBA teams where players are beholden to local regulations requiring the COVID-19 vaccine to go to work. While the league as a whole does not have such a policy for players, those in New York and San Francisco won’t be able to practice or play in home games if they are not vaccinated, as the NBA told teams that they were, indeed, a part of those local mandates.
In Brooklyn, Sean Marks said this week that there are a couple of Nets who, right now, wouldn’t be eligible to play because of the vaccine mandate, but expected everyone to be “allowed to participate” by the time camp starts — it wasn’t totally clear if he meant those players would be getting the vaccine or if they were trying to work something out with the city regarding the mandate. For Golden State, however, they are less confident that they will be at a full roster for camp, per a report that emerged on Wednesday night from the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Rusty Simmons.
There’s increasing concern among the Warriors about the early season availability of starting small forward Andrew Wiggins, who has declined to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to NBA sources.
Wiggins was open last year about not wanting to get the vaccine — it should be mentioned he said he wouldn’t get it “unless I’m forced to” — but with a mandate in place that would not allow him to go to practice or play in home games at the Chase Center, that decision now has a significant impact on a Warriors team that will already be starting the season with Klay Thompson out as he works back from an Achilles injury. Per Simmons, the team has gotten Wiggins to speak with doctors about the vaccine, its effectiveness, safety, and importance, but Wiggins has remained “unmoved” about getting it.
With the season rapidly approaching, Wiggins will have a decision to make. That’s also the case for the Warriors, as the already shorthanded squad will need to find a replacement for one of their top players for 41 games if he holds onto his stance. Beyond that, it’s hard to see how a player who isn’t at practices or home games could jump in for road games only, but this is a situation the Warriors and Wiggins will have to navigate should he continue to turn down the vaccine that 212 million Americans have received at least one dose of so far.