Golden State Warriors guard and 2022 NBA Champion Gary Payton II has signed a three-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers worth $28 million. Portland has spent the offseason attempting to rebuild a playoff team while star point guard Damian Lillard is still in his prime. Payton II has been building his profile around the NBA, but really broke out as a defensive star this season with the Golden State Warriors. That run with Golden State resulted in the team winning the NBA Championship.
Free agent Gary Payton II is finalizing a three-year, $28 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2022
This season with the Golden State Warriors, Gary Payton II averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He paired those numbers with a field goal percentage of 61.6 percent and a three-point percentage of 35.8 percent. In the playoffs this year he averaged 6.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He paired those numbers with a field goal percentage of 65.9 percent and a three-point percentage of 53.3 percent. Payton II was incredibly efficient paired with great defense and helped the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship.
Warriors were unwilling to meet that high of a price tag (and resulting tax spike) for Gary Payton II and have now lost their defensive ace off the bench to the Blazers. He led the NBA in steals per 36 minutes last season. https://t.co/iaY6xmUrG7
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) July 1, 2022
This is a serious loss to the depth of the defending NBA Champions and replacing him will be a difficult task. The Portland Trail Blazers are gaining a budding defensive star and a capable player that can provide needed depth off the bench. It seems the Warriors were unable or unwilling to match the deal.