The Golden State Warriors were unable to retain all of their key pieces after they won another championship, and their decision to let one player in particular walk was clearly not a unanimous one.
Gary Payton II signed a three-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers at the start of free agency. The Warriors were expected to lose some players this summer, but the veteran guard was not one of them. What was particularly surprising was that Golden State chose not to give Payton $9 million per season, though he would have cost them a lot more because of their luxury tax situation.
According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, several in the Warriors organization were “stung” when Payton signed with Portland. Payton was viewed as a valuable member of Golden State’s championship core. For a team that has essentially ignored the luxury tax in recent years, not re-signing Payton was somewhat surprising.
The 29-year-old scored 7.1 points per game during the regular season last year. He also played significant minutes off the bench in the playoffs and is a great defensive player. You can understand why he will be missed, but his departure should not be make-or-break for the Warriors.