The Golden State Warriors have been the most successful franchise of the last decade, winning 4 championships in that time. While a lot of this success has been thanks to players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant, who are stars, an underrated aspect of it has been the ability to develop and retain key role players that have come up big for the team time and again.
The players that showed out during their latest championship run include Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, and Gary Payton II. Payton, in particular, has quite an inspiring story of how he finally managed to crack the roster with the Warriors, and he has been well-loved within the organization, as was evident in their celebrations after winning the trophy.
So when the Warriors decided to let GP II leave for the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency, fans were a little sad to see him go. However, it's not just the fans that were hurt by the move, but seemingly several members within the organization as well, as reported by The Athletic.
"The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources.
"They’d found Payton and grown to not only love the person but also understand the value of his unique skill set. It translated to winning. For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand."
The Warriors have never let money be a factor when it comes to retaining the players they have developed, so it's easy to understand why people might be a little upset with Payton leaving. However, most of them will likely also be happy that he got the contract he deserved, and the hope will be that Donte DiVincenzo can fill in ably in that role.