Warriors bring back GP2 in trade with Trail Blazers


The Warriors have brought back Gary Payton II in a four-team trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, the team announced Thursday night

A source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson earlier on Thursday that the Warriors were acquiring Payton.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported, citing sources, that the Warriors are sending Kevin Knox and five second-round draft picks to the Blazers for Payton.

Additionally, the Warriors received unprotected 2026 and 2028 second-round draft picks from the Hawks.

In the four-team deal, the Pistons acquired former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman from the Warriors, the Hawks received Saddiq Bey and the Blazers got Knox and five second-round draft picks.

By re-acquiring Payton, the Warriors righted a wrong that left many of the players and portions of the fan base upset.

The 30-year-old defensive star blossomed with the Warriors last season, but he wasn't re-signed in free agency. Golden State allowed him to leave, where he signed a three-year, $26 million contract with Portland, with the third year being a player option for $9.1 million.

Now, Payton is back where he belongs.

And the reported trade comes less than 24 hours after Payton played against the Warriors for the first time since leaving in free agency.

Payton played just over 22 minutes and scored nine points in the Blazers' 125-122 win over the Warriors on Wednesday night.

After the game, Payton and Jordan Poole swapped jerseys. Very quickly, Payton's Blazers jersey has become a collector's item.

Payton has battled several injuries this season and only has played in 15 games, averaging 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in 17 minutes per contest. But what he brings on defense is what the Warriors really value. As a unit, Golden State has struggled on that side of the ball, so GP2 should be a welcome sight for coach Steve Kerr.

Following the Warriors' win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, Draymond Green spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson about what Payton is capable of doing ahead of Wednesday's matchup at Moda Center.

"I mean, I'm not really looking forward to playing against him," Green said to NBC Sports Bay Area following the Warriors' blowout win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at Chase Center. "I know what he's capable of on the floor and the things that he brings to the team, so I can't quite say I'm looking forward to it.

"But any time you get to see your brothers around this league, it's always an honor. It's a privilege for any of us to be in this league, so any time you get a chance to meet up and break bread or compete against each other, that's always an honor and you can't ever take that for granted." 

Three days later, Payton, Green and Poole are teammates again, reigniting the practice battles between JP and GP2.

"Yeah, we're gonna talk all the time," Poole told reporters after the game Wednesday in Portland, likely unaware that they soon would be teammates again. "We did in practice, we did in the game. He's a competitor, a really good defender, a really good player. When you get to go against your brother and guys of that caliber, it's always exciting."

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Per Wojnarowski, the combination of the Payton and Wiseman moves save the Warriors significant luxury tax money this season and next year.

The Warriors didn't make the splashy moves like the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavericks, but they tweaked the roster by removing a player (Wiseman) who wasn't in the rotation and added a player (Payton) who immediately will be used in large doses by Kerr.

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