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The Golden State Warriors might miss Andrew Wiggins at the start of the season and beyond, for an unprecedented reason.
The Warriors are worried that San Francisco vaccine mandates and the NBA's decision to follow local protocols could lead to Wiggins, who has refused to get vaccinated, missing games, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Chronicle reports that there is a belief Wiggins will be granted a religious exemption from the NBA, but the San Francisco city government has the power to override that exemption. The San Francisco Department of Public Health told the Chronicle it would not comment unless Wiggins is granted that exemption:
“We are actively addressing the matter of requests for religious exemption from vaccinations across many industries and will work with our business and entertainment community on next steps,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement. “We will provide further clarification on this topic.”
The NBA informed teams earlier this month that they will have to follow local vaccine laws. Only two league cities had such laws requiring all employees to be vaccinated for large indoor events: San Francisco and New York City.
If Wiggins does not get vaccinated, he will not be allowed to participate in Warriors home games. That would be a loss for Golden State, who had the former No. 1 overall pick average 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting a career-best 47.7% from the field (38% from deep).
One person who might have thoughts on Wiggins' decision: his former Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, who has lost more than a half-dozen family members to COVID-19, including his mother and has publicly denounced people who are refusing to get vaccinated.
Nets could also miss some players
The Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks are the only other NBA teams affected by local vaccine mandates when it comes to players.
Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters Tuesday that "a couple" of players would not be able to play for the team if they had a game that day due to the New York City vaccine mandate. However, he also said he expected that situation to resolve by the beginning of the season. The Warriors might have the same confidence in Wiggins.
Outside of the players, who have no league-wide vaccine mandate, just about every person on an NBA court this season will be vaccinated. The NBA has required all coaches, front office and medical staff, security, team communications staff, scorer's table staff and officials to get the vaccine.