LOS ANGELES – Gary Payton II was a member of the Golden State Warriors last Friday, packed his things this weekend after getting up and was back with the team on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
“So we were in the middle of it all, and then it happened, so it worked out pretty well,” Payton said Tuesday from the Staples Center floor, before the Warriors opened the regular season against the Lakers. .
Payton said between falling victim to a pre-season roster cut and his timely reunion that he was working on a deal with the Warriors G League affiliate in Santa Cruz. Instead, he was available – albeit limited, after off-season hernia surgery – off the Golden State bench on Tuesday.
“I think he’s a great fit. He gives us the backcourt defender that the roster needs, ”coach Steve Kerr said after the shootout on Tuesday. “He’s a great teammate. A great cutter. A great backend leader. I think Gary will be really good for our young players, but also really good for our roster on the nights when we need it.
Payton’s first introduction to the Warriors came on consecutive 10-day contracts two seasons ago. Despite securing a spot on an NBA team on opening night, Payton said he didn’t feel any additional job security.
“I’ve learned my entire career to stay prepared,” Payton said.
Payton was battling with guards Avery Bradley, Mychal Mulder and forward Jordan Bell for 15th and final place on the regular season roster, but he was to be guaranteed part of the $ 1.98 million contract on two years he had signed before last season. , by Spotrac. All four players were sidelined on Friday.
By signing Payton into a new deal, the Warriors are gaining flexibility in their precarious and expensive luxury tax situation. The Warriors have not provided details on the new deal, as per team policy.
The 28-year-old combo guard should provide a defensive spark on the bench, but also showed his cutting ability on the offensive side with a trio of dunks in his only action of the preseason.
Bradley, Payton’s partner in the backcourt battle, was picked up on waivers by the Lakers, who he played with last season and the opponent Golden State opens the season against Tuesday night.
Kerr hinted at a possible meeting with Payton on Monday, when he mentioned the goalie’s name as an option off the bench, despite having been lifted a few days earlier.
The Warriors were looking for a replacement for Curry who was not an obstacle in attack.
Kerr and the coaching staff left in awe of Payton, although they only made one preseason game due to hernia surgery in the offseason. Bradley, in the end, didn’t shoot well enough early in camp, Kerr said.
Kerr and general manager Bob Myers said the Warriors are already limited by their status as the league’s highest-paying team. Curry, who begins his season at the age of 34 and is desperate to extend his championship window, has publicly petitioned the Warriors Bras for last place.
Bradley looked to have the inside track on as one of the first players off the bench in the Warriors’ first two preseason games. Payton, however, remained confident he had a proven track record in previous stints with Golden State.
“I spent time on it last year and all summer here,” he said. “Clearly I wanted to be here, and it worked perfectly. ”