July 16, 2024

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Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins won’t play for Canada at Olympics for medical reasons: sources

Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins won’t play for Canada at Olympics for medical reasons: sources

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins was not in Toronto for the start of the Canadian men’s basketball team’s training camp on Friday that will help determine the country’s Olympic team at this summer’s tournament. Wiggins was named to the 20-man training camp roster earlier in the month but will now not participate in camp and will not be eligible to join the team.

On Friday night, during the team’s first press conference of training camp, Canadian general manager Rowan Barrett said he received a call from the Warriors a few days before camp began that Wiggins would not be available to play. Asked if Golden State gave him a reason, Barrett said, “That’s something you’ll have to talk to them about.”

A Warriors spokesperson responded to a request for comment from The athlete Wiggins said the decision was made by mutual consent between him and the team, and Golden State could not prevent him from playing for Canada. A team source said the decision was medical.

“Well, for us, Andrew was fine,” Barrett said. “We were talking to him constantly. He had been training for weeks and weeks preparing for this. Then I got a call from Golden State a day or two before camp saying they were holding him. So, from what I see, it’s not Andrew’s decision. It’s the team’s decision.”

Wiggins played in 71 games for the Warriors in the 2023-24 season, but suffered a season-ending ankle injury late in the season, a potential medical issue that the team could have raised. He had a rough start to the year, but he finished stronger, eventually averaging 13.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

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However, he performed well in the 2021-22 championship season.

Golden State has been active in the trade market leading up to free agency. Wiggins is set to make $26.3 million next season and will make $84.65 million over the next three seasons. His contract could be necessary to complete a trade to make a major change, but that Olympic decision is separate from any trade talks, according to sources.

The sources said that this decision was purely medical, and was made by mutual agreement, to ensure Wiggins’ health before entering the next season.

Wiggins’ inclusion in Canada’s training camp roster was somewhat controversial. In the summer of 2022, Canada required players to commit to three years of summer camp in order to be eligible to play in the Olympics, should Canada qualify. The Canadian Basketball Association eased that stance over time, but Wiggins was unable to commit at the time because the Warriors were in the midst of their championship run and were a year away from unrestricted free agency.

He eventually signed a four-year contract extension with Golden State in October 2022.

Wiggins last played for Canada in 2021, when they lost in the semifinals of the Last Chance Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, for the Tokyo Olympics. He also played for the men’s team at the 2015 FIBA ​​Americas Championship in Mexico City, in which Canada lost to Venezuela in the semifinals.

A win in that game would have sent the team to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Wiggins could have earned a roster spot had he been in training camp, as Canada needs some bigger wings, primarily on defense. This will be the first time Canada has participated in the men’s basketball tournament at the Olympics since 2000.

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Wiggins’ mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, won silver medals for Canada in the 4 x 100 meter relay and 4 x 400 meter relay at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“(I’m) upset with him,” Barrett said. “I’ve had a good conversation with him, and he’s definitely trying to get the players on the right track, so to speak, hoping for the best for them.”

Canada won the bronze medal at last summer’s FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup. Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray are expected to lead the team, with veterans like Toronto Raptors teammates Kelly Olynyk and RJ Barrett also likely to head to France.

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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)