On Monday, just days before the start of NBA free agency, the Warriors reportedly were viewed as the "favorite" to sign Gary Payton II.
But a lot can change quickly and all it takes is one opposing team to alter everything.
That's what the Portland Trail Blazers did. Payton reportedly is finalizing a three-year, $28 million contract to head back to the Pacific Northwest. The Warriors ultimately decided that price tag (salary plus subsequent luxury tax penalty) for the 29-year-old wing was too much for them.
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The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported Friday, citing sources, that the decision by the Warriors' front office and ownership not to bring back Payton "stung several in the organization."
And that's understandable for the people within Golden State who scouted, developed and played with Payton over the last year.
Per Slater and The Athletic's Sam Amick, the Warriors offered Payton a two-year contract for the $6.4 Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception each season, well below Portland's offer. And for someone like Payton who has bounced around the G League and NBA, he can't pass up any money. This is his first real payday.
Amick also reported Friday, citing sources, that Steph Curry and Draymond Green were "unsuccessful" in their attempt to convince Payton to stay with the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors
As Green said recently after the Warriors' 2022 NBA championship, it was him and Curry who convinced the the front office to bring Payton back for a second 10-day contract at the end of the 2020-21 season.
But in the end, Green and Co. weren't able to convince team president Bob Myers one last time.
With Payton on the way out, the Warriors turned their attention Friday to 25-year-old wing Donte DiVincenzo, reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $9.3 million contract with the second year coming in the form of a player option.