Gary Payton II, beloved with Dub Nation, reportedly is nearing a three-year contract to head back to the Pacific Northwest, and understandably, Warriors fans are disappointed to see him leave the Bay Area.
That's why, when Payton posted a cryptic Instagram story on Friday, Warriors fans weren't sure how to interpret it.
A few hours later, Payton clarified on Twitter that he was only referring to the fact that he's getting paid by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Payton later posted a second Instagram story with blue and yellow heart emojis, signaling his love for the Warriors.
After spending time with the Warriors towards the end of the 2020-21 season on two 10-day contracts, Payton came to training camp prior to this past season but initially was cut right before the start of the season. The Warriors, though, brought him back as the 15th man on the roster, signing him for just over $1.9 million.
Payton became so valuable to the Warriors for his defense and energy on offense that he was an integral part of their rotation throughout the season. When he suffered a fractured elbow in Game 2 of the second-round NBA playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, it was considered a big blow to their title chances.
But impressively, Payton returned for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics and ended up scoring 15 points in the Warriors' Game 5 win at Chase Center. A few nights later, he helped Golden State win its fourth title in eight seasons and celebrated accordingly at TD Garden and at the parade in San Francisco several days later.
Now, Payton reportedly is getting $28 million over the life of the three-year contract with the Blazers. That was a price tag the Warriors were unwilling to match for the 29-year-old. That shouldn't diminish the love that goes both ways.