The Portland Trail Blazers are off to a 5-1 start and are currently in first place in the Northwest Division. Damian Lillard is out for at least a few games with a calf injury and Portland hosts the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
One player who has yet to make his Portland Trailblazers debut is 29-year-old NBA champion Gary Payton II. He was a member of the 2021-22 Warriors team that won the NBA Finals. His performance earned Portland a $29 million contract over the next three seasons.
According to sources, Payton II could return as early as November 15 against the San Antonio Spurs. In July, he had to undergo a period of rest to overcome the stomach injury.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II (abdominal surgery) will make his season debut Nov. 15 against the San Antonio Spurs, league sources said. @NBAonTNT.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 1, 2022
Gary Payton II could make his debut this month.
Gary Payton II made a name for himself in the Finals with his exceptional defense for Army. He was a vital piece for Golden State averaging (6.5 points), (3.1 rebounds), (1.3 assists) and (1.2) steals per game. Payton II played less than 17 minutes in twelve playoff games last season. He also started two playoff games for the Warriors.
It’s never easy to win a championship and leave the team to play somewhere else. Payton II should have done this offseason when he signed with the Blazers. He called it a “business deal”, which is very true. The Warriors are certainly not going to give him the money he needs since they already paid big contracts to Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggin. That’s why Peyton II had to do what was right for him and secure himself financially.
“It failed. I would love to go back to the Golden State, but it just doesn’t work out. Just time and everything. It’s just a business deal, and I had to take the money. – Gary Payton II