Though he almost never speaks for his boss, Warriors coach Steve Kerr made an exception on Thursday.
Gary Payton II, who signed a partially guaranteed contract in October, definitely will receive a fully guaranteed deal that covers the rest of the season.
As for team president Bob Myers and CEO Joe Lacob, they will have to live with the coaching making such an announcement.
“I’m going to make that decision right now – sorry Bob,” Kerr said before tipoff against the Pelicans in New Orleans. “We’re going to guarantee him the rest of the year.”
There is no question Myers and Lacob, as well as the roster and coaching staff, are on board. Though the NBA’s official salary-guarantee deadline is not until next week, Jan. 10, there was no question they wanted to assure Payton would get what he has earned.
The partial guarantee of $350,000 becomes fully guaranteed at $1.94 million. Payton has, honestly, performed beyond the value of both.
Son of the Hall of Famer, GP2 snagged the final roster spot after training camp and has soared into Golden State’s playing rotation. The combo guard has played in 36 of 37 games and made his eighth start Thursday night.
Payton is averaging 7.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.9 minutes per game. He leads the Warriors – and all NBA guards – in field-goal percentage (64.1) and is second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage (41.5). His steal rate of one every 12.6 minutes also leads the team.
“Gary’s a two-way player,” Kerr said. “When you are that elite defensively, the question in the playoffs becomes can you survive offensively. This is a guy who is among the league leaders in field-goal percentage. He’s got a knack around the rim; we’ve seen it every single night, whether it’s in transition or offensive boards or playing in the dunker spot. He’s dramatically improved his 3-point shot.
“Gary’s the real deal, and he’s going to be in our rotation in any big game.”
This is an obvious move for a player has become valuable and is beloved by everyone with the franchise.