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Gary Payton II and Portland Trail Blazers reach $28 million deal

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The first day that NBA teams could start negotiations with free agents almost ended on Thursday, when the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly completed just one deal.

But later Thursday evening, hours after they agreed to a contract extension with Anferny Simons, the Blazers agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Gary Payton II who would pay him $28 million, a source confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to report it.

Payton, 29, the son of Oregon legend Gary Payton, has added depth and versatility to the backcourt as a quarterback. Payton II, who also played at Oregon State, averaged 7.1 points in 17.6 minutes per game for the Warriors during their run to the NBA title.

The Blazers, as expected, signed defenseman Simons to a four-year, $100 million contract shortly after events began to emerge in the league at 3:00 p.m. even wait for one team to sign the 2018 first round pick on the proposal sheet.

After that, all was quiet on the Blazers front until news broke about Payton.

At 6’3″, Payton is a big success story. He had a brilliant career with the Beavers but was not selected in 2016. That same year, he played in the summer league with Houston and appeared in six preseason games before being waived in October 2016. He then played 18 regular season games in two seasons with Milwaukee (2016–2018) before playing 11 games with the Los Angeles Lakers (2017–18) and then 32 in two seasons with Washington (2018). –2020). Two seasons ago, he established himself with Golden State and appeared in 10 games.

Last season, Payton II’s career took off and he became a valuable bench player for the Warriors. During the NBA Finals against Boston, Payton averaged 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds off the bench.

The Blazers’ starting quarterback will consist of Simons and Damian Lillard. Payton is versatile enough and defensive enough to see time as a point guard, shooting guard and small forward.

Payton II’s rating was 102.3 last season and 101.1 the previous season.

Gary Payton II (left) and his father Gary Pation celebrating Golden State’s 2022 NBA Championship win. (NBA)

Adding one more protection, especially type 6-3, is a little puzzling. The Blazers also have Josh Hart 6-5 on the roster. He plays shooting guard and small forward. Nasir Little, 6-5, will also be involved in the small forward position. Next up is rookie defenseman Shaedon Sharp, who was selected seventh overall in the NBA draft last week.

What the Blazers don’t have is a lot of proven players over the age of 6-6. Portland completed a trade that would give Jerami Grant a 6-8 hitter. But aside from Nurkic, who has yet to re-sign, the Blazers don’t have anyone over 6-6 in the regular rotation.

Power forward Justice Winslow 6-6. Striker/Center Trendon Watford, who will compete in the Summer League, is 6-9 points and cannot enter the regular rotation in the regular season.

It looks like the Blazers used the mid-range elimination to sign Payton. This leaves a bi-annual exception to sign oversize. Or a deal could be on the horizon.

In any case, for now, a regular rotation can certainly use additional dimensions and length.

The next big move for the Blazers will likely be the re-signing of Nurkić. The Blazers weren’t linked to any other free-agent centers, not even Phoenix Suns star DeAndre Ayton, who could very well be traded in the coming days.

Nurkic had one of the best seasons with the Blazers before plantar fasciitis stopped him after the All-Star break. According to team sources, Nurkić’s return has been the plan since the trade deadline came in February and he was still in the roster.

— Aaron Fentress | afentress@oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).

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