The Ukiah Daily Journal

Payton's trade to Warriors is a go

- By Madeline Kenney mkenney@ bayareanew­

The Warriors are going through with a trade to acquire Gary Payton II from Portland despite a failed physical, it was announced Sunday.

Golden State had put a four-team trade on hold after a routine physical on Friday revealed Payton, 30, could miss significan­t time due to a core muscle injury that required offseason surgery. The Warriors filed a complaint with the league office, alleging the Trail Blazers failed to disclose pertinent medical informatio­n during the trade discussion­s.

But after using most of their 72-hour window to decide how to proceed, the Warriors eventually concluded Sunday it was best to keep the trade intact. The multi-player trade will effectivel­y bring Payton in while sending James Wiseman away.

Payton, a key piece in last year's championsh­ip season, was seen at Chase Center in Warriors gear following team practice on Friday and in the stands next to Warriors executives Bob Myers and Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

But team officials refused to speak about the trade while the deal was still in question. Coach Steve Kerr called the situation “strange.”

The Warriors were upset Portland didn't divulge Payton had been prescribed Toradel, an extra strength anti-inflammato­ry drug that is used after surgery. Sources said Sunday morning the NBA had opened a review into the matter.

The Warriors are reportedly hoping a further investigat­ion by the league will result in Golden State receiving more compensati­on.

Payton missed the first 35 games of the season, but played 14 of the last 16 games for the Trail Blazers, including 22 minutes in Portland's game against Golden State the night before the Thursday trade deadline.

The Warriors sent three second-round picks as well as former Piston Kevin Knox to Portland for Payton as part of a four-team trade that included the Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.

Golden State dealt Wiseman to Detroit and rerouted big man Saddiq Bey to Atlanta for five secondroun­d picks that helped the Warriors bring Payton back to the Bay Area.

The timeline for Payton's injury recovery is undetermin­ed, but it could sideline him for significan­t time, sources said. Myers, the team's general manager and president of basketball operations, is expected to provide more clarity on the situation when he speaks with reporters.

The Warriors made the tough decision to move on from Wiseman in hopes to further capitalize on Stephen Curry's prime while also putting them in position to compete in the Western Conference. The conference got stronger this week with the additions of Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns.

Payton's unavailabi­lity for the foreseeabl­e future had thrown a wrench in the Warriors' plans, but ultimately the trade -which seemingly benefited all parties involved – went through.

Wiseman's developmen­t over the course of his first three NBA seasons had been stalled several times due to injuries. But when healthy this season, he wasn't getting consistent game reps needed to reach the potential the Warriors saw in him when they took him No. 2 overall in 2020. Wiseman will have a larger role with the Pistons, who will give him more opportunit­ies to play through mistakes than Golden State could afford.

Meanwhile, the Warriors will save $37 million in luxury tax with the addition of Payton, who signed a three-year, $26.1 million deal with the Trail Blazers last summer. Payton, when healthy, is an elite defender who has a proven track record of success within the Warriors' system.

By league rules, no modificati­ons were made to the trade. If the Warriors had nixed the deal, the entire trade would have been reversed. That would have meant Wiseman -- who would cost the organizati­on around $131 million over this and next season – would have returned to Golden State.

The Warriors, who suffered another disappoint­ing fourth-quarter collapse Saturday night in a 109-103 home loss to the Lakers, could certainly use the type of jolt Payton had shown he can provide.

Now it appears they'll have a long wait before seeing Payton's magic work for them again.

 ?? STEPH CHAMBERS — GETTY IMAGES ?? Gary Payton II will return to the Warriors following a deadline trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.
STEPH CHAMBERS — GETTY IMAGES Gary Payton II will return to the Warriors following a deadline trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

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