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Money Key To Blazers Guard Gary Payton II’s Free Agency Call

The champion wing chose to return to Oregon this summer based on a larger offer from Portland.

2022 NBA Finals - Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers were able to pry championship wing Gary Payton II away from the Golden State Warriors this summer, in a pretty big coup for general manager Joe Cronin.

The Blazers offered the 29-year-old defensive whiz a large part of the team’s midlevel exception, eventually agreeing to a three-year, $26 million deal with a player option on the third, on July 1.

Payton II was interviewed on the Truth and Basketball podcast with George Karl this week with the decorated coach asking the new Blazer why it was time to return to Oregon.

“For the money, I had to take the money, I had to take the money, Coach.

“It didn’t work out, I would have loved to have gone back to Golden State but it just didn’t work out, just the timing and everything, it was a business deal, so I just had to take the money

The son of an NBA great who shares his name, Payton II struggled to find his place in the NBA after representing Oregon State between 2014-16. With multiple stops in the G League, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards, it was only last season with the Warriors that he staked his claim as an elite wing defender.

Payton II has put up career numbers of 5.2 points on 32 percent three point shooting, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and one steal.