Report: Warriors ‘favorites’ to sign GP2; Mavs interested originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
As other NBA teams try to figure out how they’ll adjust their roster for the 2022-23 season, the Warriors’ top priority this week is to move into free agency. keep players who helped them won a championship earlier this month.
Bringing Kevon Looney back downtown should be the best warriorsNumber 1 job this off-season, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area.
But what about the versatile Gary Payton II grand piano?
Anthony Slater of the Athletic reported on Monday that GP2 “profiles as second most important” free agent for the Warriors to re-sign, noting that Golden State is “considered the favorites.”
That doesn’t mean other teams won’t try to pry the 29-year-old, who early in the season coach Steve Kerr called a “weapon” in defense.
Slater reported that the Dallas Mavericks should be considered “serious suitors” for Payton, although they must first resolve the free-office situation of Jalen Brunson.
Payton made just over $1.9 million with the Warriors last season and he’s lining up for a hefty raise.
The Warriors are heavy on the luxury tax and will be reps, so it’s unclear how much they are willing to offer Payton as any potential contract will cost them much more in luxury tax dollars.
But Payton showed his value to the Warriors late in the season and in the playoffs.
The journeyman played 71 games during the season, averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 17.6 minutes.
As the postseason rolled around, Payton was a key member of the shortened rotation. In Game 2 of the Warriors’ second round against the Memphis Grizzlies, he suffered a broken left elbow when Dillon Brooks committed a blatant penalty two. GP2 missed the remainder of the series and all of the Western Conference Finals before returning in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
In five games against the Celtics (four wins), Payton averaged 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
Payton has fans in Steph Curry and Draymond Greenamong other things, and he clearly loves the environment of the Warriors† That’s no guarantee he’ll return, but it could set the stage for a quick reunion once free agency opens Thursday.