The most significant blow the Warriors sustained this offseason was the departure of Gary Payton II.
The defensive specialist turned out to be a key piece in Golden State’s Finals run, but ultimately proved too expensive to retain. Payton signed a three-year, $26.1 million deal with the Blazers, as the Warriors elected not to match due to their current luxury tax situation.
Payton II spoke about the offseason on a recent episode of “Truth & Basketball with George Karl.”
“I had to take the money,” Payton II said. “I had to take the money coach [George Karl].
“It didn’t work out. I would love to go back to Golden State, but it didn’t work out. Just the timing and everything. Just a business deal, and I just had to take the money.”
A business deal indeed, but one that will likely hurt a bit. The Warriors replaced Payton II with Donte DiVincenzo on a two-year, $9.2 million deal. DiVincenzo is a more complete player than Payton, but not as good of a perimeter defender.
At age 29 and in line for his first big contract, Payton says he was going to take the money no matter what.
“I Love Oregon,” Payton added. “Portland is great up here. Two years with Corvallis and I had my time in P-town. But I love Oregon. But it was nothing against Oregon. I was going to take the money regardless of where it was.”