Saturday, June 25, 2022

New contract for Gary Payton II “Priority” for Warriors: Insider

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The Golden State Warriors face a number of tough free agency decisions in the upcoming offseason, but the player who finished 15th and last on the roster last year could end up being one of the top priorities.

The Warriors have seven players going into unrestricted free hands, including three who have played pivotal roles in the playoffs and NBA Finals rotation – Otto Porter Jr., Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II. They also have an up and coming young star in Jordan Poole, who is expected to get a major extension, and a first-time All-Star in Andrew Wiggins, who could get his own Max deal this time next year.

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After six seasons in the NBA and stints in the G League, Payton found a home in Steve Kerr’s rotation last season. He was one of the team’s best defensive players, averaging 7.1 points per game in 17.6 minutes from the bench.

Payton is now on his way to full agency, but a Western Conference executive believes Payton would be the next task for the Warriors after drafting a new deal to suspend breakout guard Jordan Poole.

“After the Poole expansion, Payton seems to be the priority there,” said Heavy.com chief executive Sean Deveney. “Obviously they want to get him at a reasonable rate, if he gets an offer above mid-level they can’t compete.”

The manager added that the Warriors could have an advantage as Payton’s defensive-first style suits them perfectly but not other potential suitors.

“There are a lot of teams that see him as a guy that fits into their system but wouldn’t fit into everyone else. He’s a specialist in that regard,” said the manager. “He’s not a shooter, he doesn’t even like taking 3s. For a lot of teams, and that includes teams like the Lakers and Celtics, teams he was mentioned with, they need two-way guys. So the market could be limited to him and the Warriors are hoping that keeps the price down.”

While Poole and Payton may be the priorities, other Warriors have expressed a desire to return and help the team defend their fourth title in the last eight seasons. Looney, who posted two playoff career highs with 22 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies and 21 points against the Dallas Mavericks, said he wants to be part of a title defense.

“I want to be here again and again,” Looney said. “I want to come back and try to defend what we just won and be part of something special again.”

Wiggins, who is entering the final year of his contract, also said he wants to stay with the Warriors long-term.

“I’d like to stay here,” Wiggins said. “Being here is first class. How they treat the players… we’re all one big family. I feel like a lot of places say that, but they show it through their actions.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau reported that the Warriors are discussing a maximum contract extension for Wiggins, though they likely would not take any immediate action.

CONTINUE READING: Draymond Green Says Warriors Rookie Can Become ‘Consistent All-Star’

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