Gary Payton II to sign 3-year deal with Trailblazers


SAN FRANCISCO - The Portland Trailblazers are signing Warriors free agent guard Gary Payton II to a three-year, $28 million deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

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Losing the defensive stalwart is a tough blow to the Warriors lineup, but with the team in the luxury tax, they drew a line with how much they were willing to pay him, and Portland exceeded it.

With his high-energy style of play and rim-rattling dunks, Payton became a fan favorite this season. Not to mention his deep Bay Area ties, due to his Hall of Fame father from Oakland.

After missing more than a month with a fractured left elbow, Payton made his momentous return to the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

GP2 logged 25 impactful minutes and helped the Warriors bottle up the Boston Celtics in a 107-88 drubbing that tied up the series at 1-1.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr actually sent Payton to the scorer’s table twice in the first quarter, as he entered at the 5:30 mark to a rousing ovation from the Chase Center crowd.

GP2 latched on as the 15th man on opening night and carved out a rotation role by November. Remarkable to think he was playing on a non-guaranteed contract until January. He seems unshakeable after a journeyman's career that includes a stop at Salt Lake City Community college, Oregon State, being undrafted then waived five times in the NBA and having to prove himself in the G League.

The Warriors also lost Juan Toscano-Anderson on the first day of free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee and Nemanja Bjelica all remain unsigned.