DubNation says keep Gary Payton II
[+notes/quotes/video on GP2 trade decision, core injury]
The latest intel has the Golden State Warriors deadline for deciding on the Gary Payton II trade set for tomorrow, Sunday, 72 hours after the trade call (see all details below). We went live on YouTube last night to discuss. It was obviously a hot topic. But in the end, our livestream poll with about 500 votes ended with 79% wanting GP2 to remain a Warrior to 21% wanting to get James Wiseman back.
First, I’m going to list all of the notes, quotes, and video from reliable sources, mostly in the usual reverse chronological order which means this morning’s tweets from reporters and yesterday’s practice at Chase Center, plus Portland Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin on the podium to address the Portland beatwriters right after one of them, Sean Highkin, read the article in the Blazers’ press room revealing GP’s use of anti-inflammatory injections before recent games, written by Shams Charania and Anthony Slater.
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Then below that, at the bottom, will be all the topics we discussed on the livestream, which touches on nearly every possible adjacent and interconnected subject, from envisioning either scenario of GPII staying or Wiseman returning to who, if any, Bob Myers might sign from the buyout market, to roster construction (buyout affects open 15th spot), to the big debate on getting a big man versus how the Warriors play.
Personally, I started the livestream on the fence. It was 6:30PM PST and I was only a few hours in, processing the news. After talking through it with my co-host, Dean “of Positivity” Chambers for three hours, I concluded that keeping GP2 would be a better risk to take, with the “core” (pun intended) issue being Payton’s ability to return to 100% health, as well as the impact of his energy, even from the sidelines — something that has been lacking in the team’s play all season. Added to this belief is that Wiseman’s agent might ask the Warriors to shut him down for the remainder of the season, if James returns.
Finally, Dean and I wonder if Gary were to be out the whole season, the worst-case scenario if Payton stays, would the Warriors be granted a Disabled Player Exception? These are usually worth half the value of the contract in question. So either he should be available by mid-May-to-June, or the Dubs might be able to offer a rest-of-the-season contract of about $4.15 million to a major buyout candidate, which is more than the veteran’s minimum. It could make having GP2 important, whether he's playing or not.
And with that, let’s preface the reverse-chronological coverage (aside from the livestream at the bottom) with Dr. Nirav Pandya’s assessment:
Pandya: “One final summative thread on the Gary Payton II situation from a medical standpoint for #DubNation. The core muscles are in the abdominal area and help to support the body and provide stability / balance. They are critical for athletic activity. They can become injured in athletes; typically at their attachment to the pelvis. Surgery typically involves "sewing" these muscles back to bone. It was reported in the media that GP2 had core muscle surgery this past offseason. In NBA players, research has shown that 90% of NBA players return to play at a mean of ~4.73 months after surgery but can be as high as 6-7 months.
Yet, if you look at performance the 1st year back min/g & performance drop although performance levels out at year 3. Some athletes can still have pain after surgery. The reasons can be in general repair failure (rare), nerve pain (inguinal nerve), residual muscle tightness (adductor muscle), and/or simply lack of strength / flexibility. Only the athlete and team medical staff know the exact reason for the concern regarding his injury from the physical.
The use of Toradol to control athletic pain has come under scrutiny in general (particularly in the NFL). It is a strong anti-inflammatory medication that is usually injected. Some side effects are GI issues, renal issues, and bleeding. This all being said, these core injuries. can linger but usually do resolve based on the data in professional athletes.”
DISCLAIMER: These are all just notes for my main workflow of YouTube videos, mostly transcribed by me shortly after the interviews and during my coverage of postgame on our livestreams (!). Sometimes I’ll just use what’s tweeted by beatwriters, as listed. The links to the tweets are not available because sometimes I don’t use the full tweet and just having a ton of tweets on this website imo isn’t aesthetically pleasing and gets away from the main goal: transferring information (not so much entertainment) to the brains of DubNation asap.
• I suspect the Warriors don't want to linger too long on this decision once they have all the information, but I'm told they are allowed to take until tomorrow night. Also: I believe it's either do the whole 4-team thing or cancel it all. (Tim Kawakami)
• League sources: Yes, GP2 failed his physical. But the Warriors might be willing to waive it to retain his rights. Situation is fluid (partly bc other pending physicals), but conceivable the full trade still gets completed. (Monte Poole)
• Slater’s article says the team has until Saturday, but both Dalton Johnson and Madeline Kenney are reporting Sunday, as that’s the official NBA rule of 72 hours after the trade was made to rescind it if the physical was failed. (me)
• Source: GPII will undergo further testing. He’s expected to get an another X-ray this evening (Saturday). (Jason Dumas)
• Anthony Slater on radio Friday afternoon: “The Warriors have been pretty upset today about the whole situation...They made this deal for a 'win-now' player. That 'win-now' player can not play now and they didn't know that before they made the deal.” (95.7 The Game)
• Slater on the Blazers allowing GP2 to play: “These are two different people, different staffs, different thresholds...From my understanding, [the Warriors] don't believe this is an injury [Gary Payton II] should be playing through.” (95.7 The Game)
• Part of me wonders if the Warriors will still go through with this deal (they have a lot reasons to want to), but that they wanted it out there the crap that Gary Payton II was going through. It's really that bad, that it should be out there. (Keith Smith)
• If I’m Warriors I veto trade. Was win now move but if GP2 isn’t healthy it isn’t worth it. Also on potentially horrible deal moving forward w/health risks. Wiseman not playing anyway but at least you reserve right to deal him in offseason for more useful piece than an injured GP2. (John Diickinson)
• And now we know why Steve Kerr and none of the parties involved had discussed the trade even though it had been formally announced. (John Dickinson)
• Per Golden State PR, Warriors-Blazers-Pistons-Hawks have 72-hour window to complete physicals for trade. Absolute deadline is Sunday for GP2-Wiseman trade but they hope it's finalized today. (Alex Espinoza)
• Source confirms Gary Payton II failed his Warriors physical today. Per NBA rules, teams have 72 hours from the initial trade call to make a final decision. No exact timetable on how long GP2 would be out, per source. (Dalton Johnson)
• Kendra Andrews on not being able to amend the trade (like it could be in an off-season trade as did happen with Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving): https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/35632914/sources-gary-payton-failed-physical-puts-4-team-trade-risk
No amendments to the deal can be made due to the passing of the trade deadline.
• Slater inside info on GP2: https://theathletic.com/4180625/2023/02/10/gary-payton-physical-trade/
Payton, according to sources, had been playing through pain in Portland. Sources added that the Blazers training staff had been pushing him to gut through it, giving him Toradol shots. This had not been relayed to the Warriors during the negotiation process.
…his timeline kept getting pushed back and Payton ended up missing the season’s first 35 games, hinting after his return that he still didn’t feel fully right, mentioning a few setbacks.
“It is what it is,” Payton said the night he came back. “Probably my fourth or fifth surgery the last five or six years…It’s at the point that it’s the best it’s going to be for this year. Just gotta thug it out.”
• A failed physical exam of Gary Payton II has placed the Golden State-Portland-Detroit-Atlanta four-team deal in serious jeopardy, sources tell me and Anthony Slater. Payton's core muscle injury could sideline him for up to three months following a Warriors exam. (Shams Charania)
• A familiar hooded Gary Payton II sighting in the Warriors weight room, dressed in Warriors gear after practice. But the team can’t comment on the trade until it’s finalized. We likely won’t hear from him and Bob Myers until tomorrow. (Janie McCauley, CJ Holmes, Dalton Johnson, Shayna Rubin)
• Kinda odd because the Warriors and other teams have already sent out press releases and tweets announcing the trades, but apparently there will be no comments from any of the teams today on any part of this four-team deal. Waiting for physicals, etc. (Tim Kawakami)
• Steve Kerr only smiled because he isn't allowed to talk about the addition of Gary Payton II just yet until the trade is finalized for all of the teams involved. Even apologized for us being here today. (Janie McCauley, Dalton Johnson)
• Joe Cronin, Portland GM, declined to comment when I asked him about the Gary Payton II physical situation and the Athletic report (but then apparently did comment): “Player safety is super-important to us. We were playing [GP2], he was cleared, and we were super-confident he was healthy. We wouldn't be playing him if he wasn't healthy.” On whether GP2 has a spot on the team if the trade is rescinded: “Oh, yeah.” (Sean Highkin, independent Blazers beatwriter)
• Jason Quick, Blazers beatwriter, post-trade deadline: https://theathletic.com/4174601/2023/02/09/blazers-trade-deadline-frustration/
A source, who was granted anonymity so that they could speak freely, says a reason Payton was traded was he indicated he didn’t want to be in Portland and was ecstatic to return to Golden State, an embarrassing development for Cronin’s first free-agent signing.
• Terms of the trade, per Warriors PR:
NOTE: The following are all edited and regrouped. If you go to the video above, you’ll see that the timestamps have a lot of topics scattered as they are brought up in the livestream.
• Dean says he would keep GP2 (who has $9M over the next two years, declining, then player option 2025), I question if GP2's market value goes down below his contract -- also I'm not sure if I've made up my mind whether I want to rescind the trade or not.
• Dean says the financial part (in rebuttal to my financial topic of GP2’s reduced market value) is the $37M combined savings in salary, luxury taxes, and penalties with this trade happening.
• Wiseman's market value went up just because Detroit wanted him, kinda like the Heat really liking Tyler Herro and giving him his contract increased Poole's market value, but a lot can change between now and the summer, so it’s hard to predict what Wiseman’s value will be for this upcoming off-season. As mentioned at the top of this website post, my thinking is that Wiseman’s agent would want to shut him down to avoid damaging the goods, for the remainder of the season, should James return to the Warriors.
• Dean talks about Wiseman and has empathy for him, plus having GP2 on the bench is a chemistry boost.
• On GP2’s energy on the bench: They weren't having a ton of fun, there was the pre-season Draymond Green punch of Jordan Poole, and Ring Ceremony and Extension-Signing Hangover. Damian Lillard is back from his own core issue is an example of being able to come back, and the Blazers did this with Dame. Dean says as the Foundational Six needs, you want a guy that "kicks ass" with our chemistry. Wiseman coming back here would be more of an awkward downer situation which would reduce the energy of the locker room.
• The new people on the livechat seem to be split on GP2 vs. Wiseman, while the regulars lean towards wanting to keep GP2.
• A lot of trust in GP2 relies on the medical staff. Dr. Nirav Pandya's latest tweet suggests that the surgery could 1) have failed, 2) lead to rehab, or 3) have residual adductor issues. But the remainder of his analysis seems to be optimistic that Payton can return to full strength when other pro athletes with core surgeries are compared.
• This wouldn't have happened on the Warriors, who usually practice an abundance of caution, and so we can be grateful for having Dr. Rick Celebrini on our staff.
• GP2’s Blazers teammate Justise Winslow seems to know something about this ordeal (Google “Kermit tea meme”).
• The deal did include five 2nd-round picks: 3 to POR, 2 to DET.
• On keeping Wiseman: Be careful to think of it as NBA2K where you're plugging and playing his potential. Wise would be great for a pickup game, though, but in the Warriors system and to the end of winning NBA games, it's much harder.
• As he has advocated before, Dean still wants Marquese Chriss on a buyout, as knows the system. As for other names being mentioned on the livechat Dwight Howard is too old and might have trouble getting back on defense aside from being a potential injury liability, while Serge Ibaka and DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins might not want to only play spot minutes.
• On Kevin Love: if he's not playing and he wants more mins than zero, maybe GSW is a destination for him, as he’s buddies with Klay. Who knows, Love is maybe a good buyout candidate for Golden State, but looking at the latest KLove rumors on HoopsHype, Cavs GM Koby Altman says he does not anticipate buyout.
• On why we don't need a big: Kevon Looney is the real center, our system has worked pretty well, so it's all about the defensive shell, as explained in the previous article on this website.
• On the ridiculous idea of tanking while remaining on the subject of acquiring a big man, Dean jokes, “We already did tank for a center,” meaning the awful 15-win season in 2020 that led to the No. 2 pick of Wiseman. Michael Gonzalez adds, “We don’t have room for guys who can't read the defense in a matter of seconds.”
• We now have an excellent defensive team with GP2 (even on the bench). Jaw-dropping excellent especially with Donte DiVincenzo and the rise of Jonathan Kuminga. GP2 would also help fill the void if DiVincenzo has a breakout year and decides to decline his player option to test the free agent market. Speaking of Donte, the Warriors would have his Early Bird Rights if he stays another year, so one way to get to that end is for him to opt-out, then sign him at the full Mid-Level Exception.
• Other ramifications of keeping GP2: His presence helps Draymond exercise his player option because he loves GP2.
• My guess on targeting a big man for a buyout: No, because I’m under the impression Anthony Lamb will have earned the open 15th spot, but Myers could still end up signing a buyout guy, we’ll see. It is also possible to cut Ryan Rollins, although he has a guaranteed contract for three years including this one, so that would be dead cap space, albeit really small. Also, most everyone on the chat likes JaMychal Green.
• Another way to look at acquiring a big man or not: Envision Ibaka (or whatever rim-protector buyout candidate you prefer) in Draymond's spot late in the game vs Portland. Is he going to rotate in time to block Anfernee Simons' shot? Don't forget, like Donte, it will take two to four months to integrate with our guys, and so is it worth that risk instead of converting Lamb?
• If the NBA penalizes Portland, they will just cancel the trade, and any fine won't really change their behavior.
• On the Kevin Durant Achilles tear: KD wanted to play. Sure, there was non-transparency as things were fluid in Toronto up until tipoff of Game 5, but it was clear to me just watching him and Celebrini walk back and forth from practice to the training room, with what looked like Saran Wrap on his calf, that Durant really really wanted to play. And so that situation cannot really be compared to the Blazers’ non-transparent situation with GP2, as brought up in the livechat.
• On Poole's defense, he's worth $30 million per year only for offense, as determined in the marketplace early this season by a similar offensively bent Tyler Herro, but take a look at his overall development arc compared with Steph. When did Curry’s defense come around? Klay Thompson’s?
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