Warriors reportedly complete Gary Payton II trade despite failed physical; NBA to review whether Blazers withheld info

Despite concerns about Gary Payton II’s failed physical that could sideline the guard for three months, the Golden State Warriors will reportedly finalize the four-team trade on Sunday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.

The Warriors reportedly filed a complaint with the NBA that the Portland Trail Blazers withheld information about Payton’s abdominal injury. The league will investigate those claims, according to multiple reports. The league could punish the Blazers, potential docking draft picks or levying a fine.

The Warriors aren't passing Payton's physical exam but are going through with the trade regardless, per Sunday's report.

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Payton had abdominal surgery in the offseason and missed the first 35 games of the 2022-23 season. He played in 15 games with the Blazers, averaging 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in 17 minutes per game. He signed a three-year, $26 million deal with Portland in the offseason after spending the past two seasons with the Warriors and winning a title with the team last season.

The Blazers reportedly “pushed” Payton to play through pain this season, “giving him Toradol shots,” The Athletic reported Friday. Payton’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, told Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes on Saturday, “despite of what’s being reported, my client never took Toradol shots to be available for games during his time in Portland.” The Athletic later clarified its reporting, saying Payton was given Toradol orally instead of via injection.

Payton failed a physical with the Warriors after Thursday’s deal that also sent James Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, to the Detroit Pistons and Saddiq Bey to the Atlanta Hawks. The Blazers’ return was Kevin Knox and five second-round picks.


Since the NBA’s trade deadline has passed, the deal cannot be changed, nor can new deals be sought. The options were to accept the deal as previously agreed upon or cancel the entire trade and send the players and draft picks back to their previous teams.

Golden State could have waived Payton’s physical and completed the trade late last week. The franchise had until 9:30 p.m. ET Sunday to complete the deal and reportedly worked with the league to get it done.

The Warriors were interested in a reunion with Payton, who reportedly was “ecstatic” to return to Golden State and wasn’t happy in Portland and will save $35 million in luxury tax by completing this deal.

Gary Payton II will reunite with the Golden State Warriors despite concerns about his failed physical after Thursday's four-team trade. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Gary Payton II will reunite with the Golden State Warriors despite concerns about his failed physical after Thursday's four-team trade. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

In a post-deadline news conference Friday, Portland general manager Joe Cronin refuted the notion that the Blazers’ training staff had pushed Payton to play through pain.


“Player safety is super important to us. It’s a super important thing around the league. We were playing him … he had been cleared, and we were confident that he was healthy when he was playing,” Cronin said per The Athletic. "We would not have brought him back if we thought he wasn’t healthy or if we thought he was at risk. You trust that we did the right thing, and you trust that our process was correct, and these reports, you know, I think if you knew our clearance process was proper, so I will have to rely on that.

“Gary was great here. We really enjoyed Gary. These things happen in the NBA sometimes, not a lot — you don’t see physicals get failed a lot — but these things happen. Guys return. I think our environment and our relationship with Gary is fine, so I’m not too concerned with it actually.”

Payton was at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Saturday to watch the Warriors’ 109-103 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He sat with Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers and other front-office members near the end of the game.