The Warriors and the NBA world were stunned to find out that Gary Payton II wasn't healthy enough to play despite the Portland Trail Blazers agreeing to trade him at the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
Golden State used the full 72 hours to review the details of the trade and ask the NBA to look into the situation before going forward with the deal on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Nearly three weeks since the four-team trade also involving the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks went through, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob spoke to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami and addressed the organization's feelings on what transpired.
"Very," Lacob told Kawakami when asked if he was mad about how things played out. "I think we all were. We were shocked. Because, you know, on the one hand, he was playing (for the Trail Blazers), which would indicate he was healthy. But when you ask someone … they only have minutes to make these trades at the trade deadline. It’s kind of an honor code here. Forget what’s in the records, which you see later.
"I think we felt that they were disingenuous."
Shortly after signing a three-year contract with the Blazers over the summer, Payton underwent core muscle surgery and missed the first 35 games of the season. He debuted on Jan. 2 and appeared in 15 games for Portland before the trade. His final game in the Rose City was against the Warriors two days before the trade deadline.
Upon his arrival in San Francisco, Payton failed his physical after the Warriors determined he hadn't fully recovered from the surgery. It took a few days, but Golden State went ahead with the trade even though they knew the 30-year-old wouldn't be able to play for a while.
President of basketball operations Bob Myers spoke to reporters on Feb. 13 and said Payton would be re-evaluated a month from that point, with the hope that he can return before the playoffs begin in mid-April.
While the trade, which ultimately sent former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman to the Pistons, was in limbo for a few days, Payton watched the Warriors' Feb. 11 game with Myers and VP of basketball operations Mike Dunleavy Jr., providing a hint as to which way the front office was leaning.
Still, Lacob admitted the Warriors used the 72-hour window after the trade deadline to consider all options, including canceling the complex deal.
"Well, we took all weekend (to officially go through with the trade), so I guess we took some time to consider it," Lacob told Kawakami.
Before the Warriors' game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, coach Steve Kerr was asked about his interactions with Payton and provided an update on the status of the defensive standout.
"We've talked a little bit," Kerr told reporters at Chase Center. "He plays great music in the weight room, so I enjoy listening to his music. And he's in there a lot because he can't be on the floor much. We've had a couple conversations and I'm thrilled to have him back. He belongs here. This is were things happened for him and for us. So we're excited to have him back. He's going through rehab every day and getting on the court as well, not in practice, but on his own. He's coming along well but it's going to be a while."
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For now, all Payton can do is rehab and watch from the sideline as the Warriors make their NBA playoff push. If all goes well, he should be able to join the lineup in time to get in a few games before the postseason.