The debut comes five weeks after the Golden State Warriors trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Payton went through, despite the Warriors initially stating that Payton could miss two to three months after a failed physical.
The 6’3 guard has missed the last 20 games due to right abductor soreness and has appeared only 15 times this season, none of them with with Warriors. Recovery from abdominal surgery kept him out for the majority of the year. He returned in sporadic stretches for the Blazers, who signed the defensive-minded veteran to a free agent contract in the offseason of 2022.
After Payton’s string of non-appearances, the Blazers traded him to the Warriors—the club from whom they had signed him—at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline. That trade became mired in controversy when Payton, still in recovery, failed a physical with the Warriors. Golden State then claimed that the Blazers had not fully disclosed the extent of Payton’s ailment and treatment, questioning whether the guard had needed an anti-inflammatory drug, Toradol, in order to play, and whether he took it orally or had it injected.
After all the hubbub, Golden State finally accepted the deal, preserving hope of later compensation for Portland’s supposed infraction with the help of a league investigation. But Haynes also reported yesterday the Warriors will not be pursuing further compensation from the Blazers for the trade involving Payton.
With the possibility of penalties against the Blazers gone and Payton officially returning faster than his initial timetable, this controversial saga appears to be reaching its conclusion.
Payton averaged 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 17.0 minutes per game in those 15 appearances with the Blazers this year.