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Gary Payton II Fails Physical, Warriors Return at Risk

February 13, 2023
byTJ607 views

It was supposed to be a great reunion for Gary Payton II and the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs moved to re-acquire one of the key pieces of their 2022 championship from the Portland Trail Blazers.

This was supposed to be a move that would help a team that badly needed backcourt help. However, there seems to be a hitch in their plan, as Payton’s return to San Francisco is blocked by medical issues. He could be out for up to three months due to a core muscle injury.

ESPN reports that Payton failed his physical ahead of his Chase Center return. The results of the physical are curious as the Blazers’ medical team declared the Young Glove as ready to play for the Dubs.

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Blazers GM Joe Cronin explained that they would not have brought the guard back if they weren’t confident that he’s ready to contribute. Payton II is averaging 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a night on 59% shooting and 53% from deep.

The potential failure of this deal will spell plenty of trouble for the Warriors come the playoffs. They need a defensive presence on the perimeter which will let them compete against a tough Western Conference full of premier perimeter talent.

They still have good depth at the guard spots. Jordan Poole and Donte DiVincenzo deputizing for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. However, Curry’s health issues stress the importance of a tried-and-tested perimeter presence in their depth chart.

A Tough Time for Wiseman

The complicated four-team trade doesn’t only jeopardize the Warriors’ re-acquisition of Gary Payton II. It also throws a wrench into their development plans. 

James Wiseman’s trade to the Detroit Pistons made it clear that he wasn’t a part of the Warriors’ future. If the deal falls through, he will be stuck in an unenviable situation.

The big man, who was drafted second overall in the 2020 Draft, didn’t get many on-court opportunities. His career averages of 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.1 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 18 minutes a game doesn’t match the expectations that came with his draft position.

The Big Ticket is still to start a game this season, as Kevon Looney secured his spot in the starting lineup. It made sense for the Dubs to allow him to develop elsewhere than waste his great potential.

The young man himself will be hoping that the deal pushes through. While Detroit is a work in progress, it has plenty of exciting young talent. He can build a winning culture with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. His experience of working with a championship-winning team will serve him well in Motor City.

However, this would only come true if the Warriors push through with the trade.

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