Several in Warriors Organization Not Happy with Guard’s Departure: Report

Gary Payton II of the Warriors (right).

Getty Gary Payton II of the Warriors (right).

The Golden State Warriors have been living high after their title run earlier last month. After paying over $170 million in luxury tax last season, there is just no way the Dubs can commit to keeping the same group intact.

As much as owner Joe Lacob and Bob Myers have been talking about competing and developing their young players at the same time, the team is still going to have to start penny-pinching at some point.

This happened once free agency started when the team let at least five of their players walk to other teams for better offers. They managed to keep Kevon Looney at a bargain deal of $25.5 million for three years, but the team was not able to keep one of their bargain bets of last season—Gary Payton II.

Payton II signed with the Blazers and returns to the state of his alma mater. He inked a $28 million, three-year deal, a drastic upgrade from the $1.94 million he got from the Dubs last season.

According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the Dubs offered him their full taxpayer mid-level of $6.4 million, but the Blazers were able to outbid that number, while also tacking on an extra year to the contract.

Some Within Dubs Felt ‘Stung’ with Payton II’s Move

Payton II played a bigger role in the Warriors rotation as last season got deeper, especially in the playoffs. His presence on the defensive end gave head coach Steve Kerr confidence to insert him into the starting lineup and move Jordan Poole to the bench.

The fact the team used their last roster spot to sign Payton II right before the regular-season starter, shows what a bonus the team was able to get out of the defensive stalwart.

Slater details how the front office tried to keep Payton II, but the luxury tax was just too tough of a pill to swallow. Ownership flinched and said no, for the first time in the Lacob era.

The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources…For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand.

Payton II Almost Took a Video Coordinator Gig Less Than a Year Ago

It must hurt for any one part of the Dubs staff to help the ascent of someone who came into the season so far off the radar as a rotational player, to then leave for another opportunity elsewhere.

As Warrior fans probably remember, Payton II told ESPN’s Malika Andrews during the Finals that he entertained the thought of applying for a video coordinator job with the Warriors.

“I knew my chances,” Payton II said. “They were telling me my chances were kinda low of making the team. So they had a video coordinator job open. And I was trying to get in that job, trying to ask for an interview for the job just to stay around this team and be around the team and see if I can help – and you never know, the 10-day might pop up.”

It is inspiring to see Payton II go from almost being out of the league to a contract that is more than what his Hall of Fame father made during his playing days. However, this is how business works, especially when the team is contending and there is less flexibility with role players.

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