The Golden State Warriors took a big turn by executing a trade for Gary Payton II, but the deal could be in jeopardy, a new report has revealed.
The Warriors expected to meet with Payton, but things don’t go as expected.
Payton was part of a trade involving four NBA teams, but an issue on a physical showed the guard could be missing around three months, according to The Athletic. He failed a physical on Friday due to a core muscle problem.
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Saturday is the deadline to close the deal. If the deal doesn’t go through, all four teams involved — the Warriors, Pistons, Blazers and Hawks — could be affected.
The Athletic reported that Payton had been playing in pain this season with the Trail Blazers, and the coaching staff gave him injections to help him tolerate the discomfort.
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Golden State was reportedly unaware of Payton’s condition or that he was possibly receiving treatment for it.
«Player safety is very important to us,» Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said. «It’s a big thing in the league. We were playing him…he had been cleared and we were confident he was healthy when he played.
«We wouldn’t have brought him back if we thought he was unhealthy 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 that our authorization process was correct, I’ll have to rely on that.»
Payton underwent abdominal surgery last summer. He sat out the first 35 games this season even though Portland initially projected 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 that he wasn’t completely healthy yet.
«It is what it is,» Payton said when he returned for his first game of the season. «Probably my fourth or fifth surgery in the last five or six years… It’s at the point where it’s the best it’s going to be this year. I just have to hang on.»
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 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 deal with the Blazers last summer.