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Blazers Guard Gary Payton II Return Target Revealed

The Portland Trail Blazers’ key free agent acquisition is expected to return before the new year.

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Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers still have yet to piece together all of the players the team acquired in the offseason.

Gary Payton II has been sidelined all season long while recovering from core muscle surgery in the offseason. But The Athletic’s Shams Charania says Payton’s return is coming soon.

Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II is targeting his season debut in the next one to two weeks, sources said. Payton, who signed a three-year, $28 million deal to join the Trail Blazers in July, has been sidelined due to offseason surgery on a core muscle injury. Payton was a key rotation player for the Warriors‘ 2022 championship team and should assume a similar do-it-all role for the 14-12 Trail Blazers.

Payton, the son of NBA Hall-of-Fame point guard Gary Payton, is 29-years-old and has spent six seasons in the NBA. He’s played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Lakers in addition to the Warriors. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 17.6 minutes per game over 71 appearances with the Warriors last season, including 16 starts. He shot 61.6 percent from the field in 4.8 attempts per game, 35.8 percent from the three-point arc. He upped those percentages to 65.9 and 53.3 in 12 playoffs games on the way to Golden State’s 2022 World Championship. The title capped the first playoff run of Payton’s career.

The Blazers have games exactly one and two weeks today against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets. Perhaps those are two dates to circle when trying to predict Payton’s return.