Gary Payton II’s taken a long and winding road to get to where he is in the NBA. Payton spent much of his career going back and forth between NBA teams and G League affiliates, but in the last 15 months, he’s managed to catch on with the Golden State Warriors as a tenacious defensive guard off of the team’s bench.
He took a cup of coffee with the team at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, made it work, and eventually became an important piece to the puzzle as Golden State won its fourth championship in the last eight years. Now an unrestricted free agent, reports indicated that the Warriors wanting to bring him back, but the possibility existed that he’d end up costing a bit too much.
That ended up being the case, as Payton is heading elsewhere in the Western Conference. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Portland Trail Blazers offered Payton a 3-year deal worth $28 million, while Shams Charania of The Athletic brought word that Payton decided to take that offer and join Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in the team’s backcourt.
The three-year, $28 million deal Portland Trail Blazers offered Gary Payton II contains a player option and extra incentives, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 1, 2022
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2022
ESPN reports that the Warriors offered him the taxpayer mid-level exception. Payton averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game on 61.6/35.8/60.3 shooting splits with the Warriors last season.