AP source: Payton II to join Blazers on 3-year, $28 million deal
Gary Payton II returns to his Pacific Northwest roots, agreeing to a three-year, $28 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed Friday that Payton will leave the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to join a backcourt alongside Damian Lillard and lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe, selected with the seventh overall pick in the from last Thursday’s draft.
At the end of the season, longtime journeyman Payton admitted he was looking forward to finally receiving his free agency pay. An AG Leaguer for so long, Payton was cut before the start of the season and he was set to take video work with the organization before being re-signed.
Payton said he couldn’t wait “to relax and breathe.”
“It’s just a relief right after all this travel, just everything I’ve been through,” Payton said during the Warriors’ June 18 exit interview.
Payton, 29 – son of former Seattle SuperSonics star Gary Payton – became a defensive stopper for Golden State, returning from a broken elbow to help in the NBA Finals against Boston which the Warriors won in six games .
Payton was injured when Grizzlies star Dillon Brooks grossly fouled Payton’s header on a second-round layup attempt. He crashed awkwardly in Memphis on May 3.
Brooks received a Flagrant 2 foul and was sent off and later suspended for one game without pay for what the NBA called “unnecessary and excessive contact”.
Payton’s efforts off the court helped make him a fan favorite and also meant a lot to the Warriors and San Francisco. He received the NBA’s Bob Lanier Community Assist Award on May 31 for his work on behalf of children with dyslexia and his promotion of early assessment.
He averaged a career-high 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds over 71 games in Payton’s first season playing consistently.
Athletic first announced Payton’s new contract.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports