GP2 calls leaving Warriors for Blazers 'a business deal' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Sports is a business, so when a player has an opportunity to secure a payday, it often is an easy decision to make.
For Gary Payton II, the chance to secure the bag came this offseason, with the guard parlaying his role as a depth piece for the Warriors on their run to the 2022 NBA Finals into a long-term contract.
The 29-year-old turned his performance in the Finals into a three-year contract with the Portland Trail Blazers worth $29 million. Despite having the desire to return to Golden State, the decision to leave the Bay Area simply was a financial one.
"I had to take the money," Payton II said on a recent episode of "Truth & Basketball with George Karl." "I had to take the money coach [George Karl].
"It didn't work out. I would love to go back to Golden State, but it didn't work out. Just the timing and everything. Just a business deal, and I just had to take the money."
During the 2021-22 NBA season, the veteran guard averaged 7.1 points per game, with most of his appearances coming off the bench.
Nonetheless, the series against the Boston Celtics is where general managers might have taken notice of Payton II with the series tied 2-2.
Payton II scored 15 points off the bench in Game 5 to help the Warriors secure the 104-94 win. Golden State then would close out the series at TD Garden in Game 6.
Now in Portland, Payton II is in a place that he's familiar with, after having spent his junior and senior seasons at Oregon State.
However, the decision always was economical; despite having a history in Oregon, Payton II wasn't budging from putting finances over any other interest when testing the free agency market.
"I Love Oregon," Payton added. "Portland is great up here. Two years with Corvallis and I had my time in P-town. But I love Oregon. But it was nothing against Oregon. I was going to take the money regardless of where it was."
The former Warriors guard hopes to be a key contributor on a Blazers team that hopes to turn its situation around after finishing the 2021-22 season 13th in the Western Conference and accumulating 27 wins under first-year coach Chauncey Billups.