Gary Payton II hasn’t suited up for the Golden State Warriors since last season’s NBA Finals. Payton elected to join the Portland Trailblazers over the summer, but was then traded back to The Bay in February.
He’s been sidelined due to an abdominal injury ever since rejoining the Warriors, but could be lacing ’em up soon.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnorowski reported on March 23 that Payton could play in Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Gary Payton II could join the Warriors lineup as soon as Sunday vs. Minnesota, team says,” Wojnorowski tweeted.
The news comes less than a day after head coach Steve Kerr teased the idea of Payton and Andrew Wiggins potentially returning to the lineup sometime soon.
“We’re hopeful to get Wiggs and (Gary Payton II) back, those two guys were really key players for us in the championship run a year ago,” Kerr said via the NBA Interviews Channel, after the Warriors’ 127-125 win over the Dallas Mavericks. “We can feel it, we’re a little short defensively, literally and figuratively, you know?”
Warriors, Steve Kerr Support Andrew Wiggins Amid Absence
Wiggins, like Payton, hasn’t played for the Warriors in quite some time. The former No. 1 overall pick last appeared during Golden State’s February 13 matchup with the Washington Wizards.
He’s since been out due to an ongoing personal issue.
Kerr later had some kind words for the Canadian forward, explaining that the team remains behind him.
“Well, we love Wiggs, he’s a huge part of our team,” Kerr said Wednesday night. “He’s a great player but he’s a great human being. He’s just a great teammate, I love coaching him. So anytime you see one of your guys struggling, dealing with something, all you can do is support that player and give them space and that’s what we’ve tried to do. But our players and our coaches, front office, we’re all thinking about Wiggs every day. If he comes back, great. If he doesn’t come back, that’s fine too. We just want to make sure that he’s in a good place, taking care of his family and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Warriors’ Draymond Green Defends Andrew Wiggins
Wiggins’ Warriors teammate Draymond Green recently came to his defense amid the rumors being floated around regarding his extended leave.
“I want to let you all know about how absolutely ridiculous most of you people are at life,” Green said on the March 21 edition of “The Draymond Green Show.” “The fact that a rumor about Andrew Wiggins — I don’t know if it’s true. I’m not here to confirm whether it’s true or not. I really don’t care, like it ain’t got nothing to do with me.”
Green then shared his disgust with those spreading rumors and speculating, claiming that he’d lost some faith in humanity.
“Y’all are so thirsty to know what’s going on in someone’s life that that becomes the thing. You better have some cold hard evidence if you’re going to make that a thing. And, quite frankly, I’ve just seen people talking. I’ve seen no evidence of anything. … That’s insane. That’s nuts. … With no confirmation or nothing. Sometimes people disgust me. We live in a disgusting world. … Like I said, whether it’s true or false, I don’t know if the world will ever know. Quite frankly, I don’t think it matters for the world to know if it is or isn’t. … People’s kids have to live with that. … It’s cringeworthy. … It actually makes me lose more and more hope for humanity.”