ESPN’s Brian Windhorst doubles down on Warriors ‘checkbook win’ comment
Brian Windhorst received immediate backlash following his remarks after Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday in which he labeled the Warriors’ victory over the Celtics a “checkbook win.” Two days later, he chose to double down on his statement.
While many were surprised by Andrew Wiggins’ dominant performance in the Warriors 104-94 win over Boston – the former first overall pick recorded 26 points and 13 rebounds – Windhorst asserted the Warriors’ small forward is no underdog.
“[Wiggins] makes $32 million,” he informed SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt after the game. “They kept Andrew Wiggins and boy did he show up tonight.”
While some teams around the league would’ve looked to dump Wiggins’ steep contract, the Warriors were able to retain their depth piece because of a healthy payroll, according to Windhorst.
“Other teams would have totally gotten rid of him,” Windhorst said. “They stuck with him. They have a $340 million payroll when you consider taxes. You don’t just have to beat the Warriors on the court, you’ve got to beat their checkbook. Taking nothing away from Andrew Wiggins but this was a checkbook win for the Warriors.”
Warriors fans were quick to clap back at Windhorst’s remarks on social media, arguing the talent the Warriors possess has predominantly come through the draft. However, Windhorst came with a swift response of his own on Wednesday, questioning why fans had placed a negative connotation on the statements he made.
“I was giving the Warriors a compliment for being able to stick with spending through their rebuild, and that’s why they have the depth on this team,” Windhorst said on The Game’s “The Morning Roast.” “Nobody would argue that [general manager] Bob Myers and his front office have not done a tremendous job, and that [owners] Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have not done a fantastic job financing the team. But it is not a level playing field.
“It wasn’t a criticism, I was praising them. I’m saying, when you go against the Warriors, you’re going against a team that has incredible financial might. That’s just a true statement.”
While Golden State fans will likely still disagree with Windhorst, what both can agree upon is that the Warriors are one win away from getting back to the mountain top with another NBA championship. They’ll look to close out the series Thursday night at Boston’s TD Garden.