Former Lakers, Wizards PG on ‘Inside Track’ for Warriors Roster: Report

Gary Payton II

Getty Gary Payton II brings up the ball for the Washington Wizards.

The Golden State Warriors have one more roster spot to fill, and a report indicates that a former Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards guard may have the inside track on the spot.

The Warriors have filled 14 roster spots this offseason, adding a pair of lottery picks to go along with some veteran free agent pickups. The team has looked in a number of directions for the 15th and final spot, with an insider predicting that a defensive-minded guard is a frontrunner to make the roster.

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Warriors Could Add to Backcourt

Grant Liffman of NBC Sports Bay Area broke down the potential options for the Warriors in rounding out the roster, noting that there are a number of directions that Golden State’s front office could choose — including the possibility that the team elects to leave it open for potential additions at the buyout deadline. But given that the Warriors are expected to be without Klay Thompson for the first several weeks of the season, Liffman suggested that the team could look to guard Gary Payton II, who spent time with the Warriors last year and was on the Summer League roster.

“Payton II can bring the defensive energy to hound opposing guards, and already has learned the Warriors’ system,” Liffman wrote. “Assuming the 15th player on the roster will not get many minutes is the likeliest scenario, so someone like Payton II could be the right guy to bring that jolt of defensive fire in small doses.”

Payton has bounced around a bit during his five seasons in the NBA, playing most recently for the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers. He has averaged 3.4 points per game for his career, but brings a strong defensive presence that some insiders believe could give him a good chance of finding a place.

Warriors Consider Other Options

Golden State has taken a look at a number of options to round out the roster, including several guards. Jorge Sierra and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the team planned a workout for Isaiah Thomas, and they had already worked out point guards Ryan Arcidiacono and Darren Collison.

Some insiders believe the team could look in a different direction. Anthony Slater of The Athletic noted that former Lakers big man Marc Gasol has a strong chance to fill the vacancy. Slater noted that Gasol nearly signed with the Warriors prior to last season, but Thompson’s season-ending injury led him away. Still, Slater believes that Gasol could be a good fit for the Warriors system.

“It may never materialize, but he has the exact passing acumen and center skill set that has traditionally fit (head coach Steve) Kerr’s offense best, similar to David West and Andrew Bogut,” Slater wrote.

There is the chance that whatever decision the Warriors make, it may not come anytime soon. Slater pointed out on Twitter that Warriors general manager Bob Myers wants to keep the vacancy heading into training camp, allowing for an open competition between a few options.

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