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Report: Andrew Wiggins sought, received money to play for Canadian national team

Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano

Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano


Andrew Wiggins has a reputation for caring more about securing his payday than competing on the court.

That might be what drew Jimmy Butler’s ire. After signing a max contract extension with the Timberwolves, Wiggins regressed.

Wiggins’ approach hasn’t made him many friends with the Canadian national team, either.

Wiggins played in the 2015 FIBA Americas, but he called Canada’s semifinal loss to Venezuela the worst loss of his career. He hasn’t played for the Canadians since.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun:

The back-and-forth went something like this: If you want Andrew to play, it’s going to cost you money. And if you want Andrew, you’re going to want his brothers, too. This wasn’t your typical tryout invitation and recruiting session. This was part-negotiation, part-stick-up, or so the story goes.

And Canada Basketball did what it believed was necessary at the time. It apparently paid decent money for Wiggins to play for Team Canada. No one will tell you how much is pretty good money, but an organization without a lot of cash, had to come up with some.

You’re worth what someone will pay you, and Wiggins apparently knows his worth. If he wanted to play out of national pride or some other reason, he could have. But he shouldn’t, and clearly didn’t, feel obligated to play for free. It’s his time.

Team USA players are not paid for participation, though Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen stirred the debate in 2012. But representing the U.S. comes with far greater exposure than playing for Canada.

The Canadians are rising internationally with a deep crop of players including Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles, Tristan Thompson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Cory Joseph, Dillon Brooks, Nik Stauskas, Dwight Powell and R. J. Barrett. But it doesn’t sound as if Wiggins will rejoin the program anytime soon.