How Wiseman experienced ‘crazy' uncertainty after trade


In the middle of the uncertainty surrounding the Warriors' trade for Gary Payton II was James Wiseman.

The 21-year-old center was stuck in basketball limbo for a few days, as he would either venture on to the next chapter of his career with the Detroit Pistons or awkwardly return to the Warriors if the trade was squashed.

"Last few days have been crazy for me," Wiseman said at Pistons practice Tuesday afternoon. "I get off the plane, just doing my physical and stuff. It was a lot.

"And then having the trade situation -- I really just stayed present, tried to take it one day at a time just embracing everything."

The four-team trade that sent Wiseman to Detroit and Payton back to the Bay Area was reported just a few minutes before the trade deadline last Thursday. On Friday, reports emerged that the trade was in jeopardy because Payton failed his physical.

As the sports world celebrated Super Bowl Sunday, Wiseman was able to exhale when it was reported the Warriors would go through with the trade despite Payton's condition. The 7-foot center expressed he was "super confident" the trade would eventually be completed.

It marked the end of Wiseman's tenure with the Warriors. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft was selected to be the team's center of the future but never lived up to the expectations due to a flurry of injuries and inconsistent play when he did receive opportunities.

Wiseman needs a chance to play heavy minutes and learn from his mistakes on the floor. The Warriors, in the middle of a difficult mission to defend their NBA championship, could not afford to give him those opportunities this season.

"We all love James, like that's the biggest thing," Warriors star Steph Curry said Monday. "It's a guy you root for, it's a guy that you know will be able to figure it out, it's a guy that approaches each part of his job the right way, has a great attitude considering everything he's been through and the expectations around him and the conversations around him.

"A lot of confidence that he'll be around this league a long time. I don't know what his ceiling is, it's a guy I want to see figure it out and have an opportunity."

Payton, currently sidelined with a core injury, will be re-evaluated in one month. The Warriors hope to have him on the court by the time the playoffs roll around in April.

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Wiseman, on the other hand, is set to make his Pistons debut on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics.

"It’s a new start for me so I’m just embracing everything," Wiseman said. "... At the end of the day, basketball is basketball. So, I’m staying humble, just putting in work.

"I’m staying true to myself and really trusting the process for everything."

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