Gary Payton II was one of several key Golden State Warriors players to leave the team during the offseason.
On the heels of winning a championship, generally front offices like to reward their players with big contracts. That didn’t happen this summer in the Bay.
Instead, Payton inked a three-year, $26 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Recently the 29-year-old appeared on George Karl’s podcast and bluntly revealed why he made the move.
“For the money,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“I had to take the money. I had to take the money, coach. It didn’t work out, I would’ve loved to go back to Golden State. But, it just didn’t work out. Just the timing and everything, it’s just a business deal. So, I just had to take the money.”
Payton wasn’t the only Warriors player to feel that way. The franchise lost several key names this offseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers inked Juan Toscano-Anderson to a one-year, $1.9 million deal. (He and his girlfriend are already enjoying that L.A. lifestyle.) Otto Porter Jr. received $12.3 million from the Toronto Raptors. He spoke very openly about why he left the Warriors.
And even guys like Jordan Poole, who are entering their RFA seasons and expected to get paid this summer, are instead being hit with trade talks.
Golden State doesn’t seem intent on paying anyone nowadays.
Payton is currently recovering from core muscle surgery, but he figures to play a big role in the Blazers’ campaign next season. They needed someone with his defensive tenacity to bring some toughness to the fold.
Christian McCaffrey and Olivia Culpo are ready for the Giants.https://t.co/NvDoS4UfvT
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 17, 2022
By all accounts Payton will miss training camp and the preseason, but should be back at some point at the beginning of the regular season.
Will he ultimately be able to enjoy as much success in Portland as he did with the Warriors?
Time will tell.