The Golden State Warriors took a big swing by executing a trade for Gary Payton II, but the deal could be in jeopardy, a new report revealed.
The Warriors were hoping to reunite with Payton, but things aren’t going as expected.
Payton was part of a trade involving four NBA teams, but an issue in a physical showed that the guard could miss around three months, according to The Athletic. He failed a physical Friday due to a core muscle issue.
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Saturday is the deadline to finalize the deal. If the deal does not go through, all four teams involved — the Warriors, Pistons, Blazers and the Hawks — could be impacted.
The Athletic reported Payton had been playing with pain this season with the Trail Blazers, and the training staff administered shots to help him tolerate the discomfort.
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Golden State reportedly was not aware of Payton’s condition or that he was possibly receiving treatment for it.
“Player safety is super important to us,” Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said. “It’s a super important thing around the league. We were playing him … he had been cleared, and we were confident that he was healthy when he was playing.
“We would not have brought him back if we thought he wasn’t healthy or if we thought he was at risk. You trust that we did the right thing, and you trust that our process was correct. And these reports, you know, I think if you knew our clearance process was proper, so I will have to rely on that.”
Payton did undergo an abdominal surgery last summer. He sat out this season’s first 35 games despite Portland initially projecting he would be cleared to play at the start of the season.
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Shortly after his return to the court, Payton hinted he still was not completely healthy.
“It is what it is,” Payton said when he came back for his first game of the season. “Probably my fourth or fifth surgery the last five or six years. … It’s at the point that it’s the best it’s going to be for this year. Just gotta thug it out.”
In the complex four-team deal, Golden State sent James Wiseman to the Pistons and Saddiq Bey to Atlanta in exchange for five second-round draft picks. The Warriors then used the draft capital to acquire Payton from the Blazers.
The defending champion Warriors were hoping Payton’s second stint in Golden State would give the team a much-needed boost down the stretch.
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Payton signed a three-year, $26.1 million contract with the Blazers last summer.