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Warriors File Complaint Against Blazers, Launching NBA Investigation

Portland could face sanctions.

Atlanta Hawks v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The NBA has received a complaint from the Golden State Warriors against the Portland Trail Blazers, launching a review of potential misleading by the Blazers regarding Gary Payton II’s status prior to a Thursday trade between the franchises.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the news this morning.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported yesterday Portland could face punishment in the form of fines or loss of draft picks if an investigation finds any wrongdoing.

The NBA could punish Portland with a fine and loss of draft picks if an investigation were to discover “a failure to disclose relevant information” on Payton’s abdominal injury that required offseason surgery and had him miss the first 35 games of the season.

The Warriors believe they should’ve been told that Payton had been using Toradol to alleviate pain, sources said, something that’s more typically done for players in the playoffs rather than the regular season.

This investigation is the latest development in an ongoing controversy regarding a trade between the franchises involving Payton, putting Portland’s medical staff and negotiations with Golden State in question.

Portland traded Payton to Golden State on Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline for five second-round picks as part of a larger four-team trade. The following day, Charania reported Payton failed his physical due to the medical staff finding a core muscle injury that could sideline him for up to three months, putting the four-team trade in jeopardy. Charania’s report also claimed Payton was given Toradol in order to play in games with Portland, information Golden State said wasn’t disclosed prior to the trade. Payton had off-season abdominal surgery, which sidelined him for his first 35 games as a Blazer before he made his season debut Jan. 2.

Since that report, Chris Haynes of TNT Sports and Bleacher Report tweeted a statement from Payton’s agent Aaron Goodwin that claimed Payton “never took Toradol shots to be available for games during his time in Portland.” It should be noted Goodwin also represents Blazers star guard Damian Lillard.

When asked about the reports during a Friday press conference, Blazers general manager Joe Cronin defended the organization’s handling of Payton’s recovery from surgery.

“Player safety is super important to us, it’s a super important thing around the league. We were playing him, he was playing. He had been cleared. We were confident that he was healthy when he was playing. We would not have brought him back if we thought he wasn’t healthy or he was at risk, so you trust that we did the right thing, and you trust that our process was correct. And these reports, I think... The clearance process was proper, so I’ll have to rely on that.”

Last night, after Josh Hart’s first game as a New York Knick — he was also traded by Portland prior to the trade deadline — Hart, unprompted by reporters, praised the Blazers organization and training staff.

“Portland as an organization was great, Joe Cronin has been great. That organization is nothing but a class act. In the front office, in the training room. And I just want to say that that organization is respectful, a class act and does everything by the book.”

The Warriors have until 9:30 PM, Eastern time tonight to accept or reject the trade based on Payton’s physical. They are free to accept or reject the deal on those ground alone, based on the findings of their team physicians.

UPDATE: The Warriors are discussing with the NBA a way to complete the four-team trade, while still reserving the right to pursue recourse on how the Trail Blazers shared Payton’s medical information with them prior to the agreement, according to Wojnarowski.