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Blazers Unaware Of Golden State’s Concerns About Payton Before Athletic Piece Was Published

The Rose Garden Report: The Warriors organization or media outlets didn’t notify Portland about any issues before controversial story dropped.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers weren’t notified of the Golden State Warriors’ concerns about Gary Payton II’s health — by the Warriors organization or media outlets — until it was first reported by The Athletic, per The Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin (subscription required).

The controversy surrounding the Blazers and Warriors, which jeopardized Thursday’s four-team deal involving the two franchises, the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, arose after a Friday report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated Payton failed his physical with Golden State. Furthermore, the report claimed Portland didn’t disclose important information about Payton’s health in trade negotiations.

Charania’s story was published minutes before Blazers general manager Joe Cronin addressed the media to discuss Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. Prior to the publishing of the report, Cronin didn’t know about any of Golden State’s concerns, according to Highkin.

According to a league source, the Blazers were not made aware of any of Golden State’s concerns about Payton’s health or the team’s handling of his injuries—either from the Warriors organization or from any media outlet reporting on the allegations—prior to the publication of the Athletic story that happened shortly before Cronin met with reporters, a media availability that had been scheduled for that time since the previous day.

The Athletic piece reported the Blazers had been giving Payton II shots of the anti-inflammatory drug Toradol as part of his recovery. It was later corrected to report that Payton was given Torodal orally.

Highkin wrote:

Toradol in pill form is much more common as a pain reliever and much lower-dosage than it is as a shot.

Highkin’s story also includes a comprehensive timeline spanning the date Payton received surgery last July, to his Blazers debut in early January, until he was traded to Golden State earlier this week. The timeline tracks developments in Payton’s recovery and statements from members of the Blazers organization about his progress. Here’s one excerpt:

On Oct. 13, less than a week before the season began, the team issued another update saying that Payton was continuing to “progress well” in his rehab but would be out for the next two weeks.

That day at practice, Billups was asked about Payton’s recovery and said the team wasn’t going to put pressure on him to come back.”I think we just wanted to be extra-cautious with it,” Billups said at the time. “Gary is such a tough player, he’s gonna fight through anything. You almost have to protect these guys from themselves. He’s almost used to playing hurt his whole career.

Despite Payton’s failed physical, the Warriors agreed to proceed with the trade earlier today.

Based on a complaint filed by Golden State, an NBA investigation looking into the Blazers handling of the situation is still pending.

You can read the full story from Highkin here (subscription required).