Gary Payton II has signed a 3-year contract with the Portland Trail Blazers for $28 million dollars, as reported by Shams Charania. GPII is coming off a championship with the Golden State Warriors and will now be the backup to guards like Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons on the Blazers.
GPII has been in the NBA for years but has bounced from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Los Angeles Lakers and then to the Washington Wizards. Last season, he was given the final roster spot on the Golden State Warriors and made the most of his opportunities, emerging as a standout defender who entered the Warriors Finals rotation by the end of the season.
The Blazers are re-tooling their entire squad around Damian Lillard after a disappointing year. With additions like Jerami Grant and Shaedon Sharpe already on the team, GPII is going to have his adjustment into the team made easier. This is the first time in his career that Payton II has received a long-term contract for guaranteed money.
Ideally, the Trail Blazers pick up where they left off the last time they had a full season with Lillard mostly healthy and return to the Playoffs. With the new weapons they have added, the team is looking a lot more solid than it did from 2019 onwards, The guard fit with Simons and Lillard may take a few games to find a rhythm, but it is a promising pair.
Grant is the first elite forward the Trail Blazers have had in a while and can impact the game on both sides of the ball. The team might not even be done making moves, with some frontcourt reinforcement required for the team before they can be ready with their lineup.
Portland is trying their best to give Lillard a good squad around him and GPII is a fantastic signing. Hopefully, it all leads to success for the franchise.