Gary Payton II

Warriors’ Gary Payton II (Calf) Out At Least One More Week

Warriors swingman Gary Payton II will miss at least one more week due to his right calf strain, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State announced that Payton is “making good progress” from the injury and he will be reevaluated next week, per Slater.

Payton, 31, is averaging 5.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 1.2 SPG in 14 games (17.3 MPG) thus far in 2023/24. He sustained the injury on November 28 against the Kings.

Moses Moody, Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga figure to receive more minutes with the defensive stalwart sidelined, though all three players have seen their playing time fluctuate to this point.

Payton, who helped the Warriors win a championship in 2022, is making $8.72MM this season and holds a $9.13MM player option for ’24/25.

Golden State has had an uneven start to the ’23/24 season, currently sitting with a 10-11 record, good for the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference. That said, it’s obviously early, and the Warriors are only two games back of the current No. 6 seed, Sacramento.

Gary Payton II To Be Reevaluated In One Week

NOVEMBER 30: Payton will be reevaluated in one week after an MRI confirmed a right calf strain, according to a release from the team (Twitter link via Andscape’s Marc J. Spears).

However, the injury will keep him out for longer than one week, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link), who says the Warriors are expecting to have a better grasp on the severity and timeline over the next week.

NOVEMBER 29: Warriors swingman Gary Payton II tore his right calf in Tuesday’s game and will be out of action indefinitely, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The injury occurred late in the third quarter when Payton attempted to go around a screen while defending Sacramento guard De’Aaron Fox, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Payton grabbed at his right calf and hopped around in pain before limping to the team’s locker room. An MRI conducted today revealed the full extent of the damage.

Payton has been an important part of Golden State’s rotation, appearing in 14 games and playing 17.3 minutes per night. He averages 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds, but his greatest impact is on defense as he collects 1.2 steals per game.

After playing a vital role in the Warriors’ 2022 championship, Payton signed with Portland as a free agent but was reacquired in February to help Golden State fix its struggling defense. He has a $9.13MM player option for next season.

Injury Notes: Brown, Mitchell, Payton, Anunoby, Alvarado

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown is considered questionable to suit up on Sunday in Memphis due to a right adductor strain, according to the NBA’s official injury report. The injury occurred during Friday’s in-season tournament game in Toronto, and Brown indicated after Boston’s win that a slippery floor was to blame.

“The court was just slippery all game,” Brown said (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe). “I think as players we’re all here for the in-season tournament because it’s going to generate revenue, excitement, competition, but we’ve got to make sure the floor is safe to play on. We can’t put our players out there and risk their health. Tonight I thought the floor was unacceptable. I think guys were slipping all over the place, not just me.”

As Michael Grange of relays (via Twitter), Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa seconded Brown’s complaint about the court, which was being used for the first time: “It was slippery, I fell a couple of times myself. The extra stuff is extra. I’m just trying to play basketball, at the same time, not trying to get hurt.”

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell will miss a second consecutive game on Sunday, having been ruled out vs. Denver due to a right hamstring strain, tweets Tom Withers of The Associated Press.
  • The Warriors provided a formal update on Gary Payton II on Saturday, announcing (via Twitter) that an MRI on his injured left foot didn’t show any structural damage and confirmed that he has a muscle strain in the foot. Payton, who missed Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City, will be reevaluated again this weekend.
  • OG Anunoby has missed the Raptors‘ past three games due to a laceration on his finger, but he’s listed as probable to return for Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, per Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link).
  • Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, who was upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game, ended up sitting it out, further delaying his season debut. However, it sounds like that debut will occur soon. Head coach Willie Green said on Saturday that Alvarado has been playing 5-on-5 and is getting very close, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Pacific Notes: K. Murray, Petrusev, Clippers, Payton

Kings forward Keegan Murray has been tasked with a handful of challenging defensive assignments so far this season and has responded well, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Head coach Mike Brown praised Murray for his work against Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell earlier in the week, then named him Sacramento’s defensive player of the game on Wednesday for his play vs. the Lakers (Twitter link via Anderson).

“I love it,” Murray said of being asked to do more defensively. “When I was in college and even last year, I really wasn’t known as a defender and I just tried to figure it out on my own, and obviously ask the coaches and the coaches helped me, too. But it’s just a lot of figuring out what guys do and their tendencies, just trying to be the aggressor on defense because, I mean, I feel like over the offseason, I kind of got more athletic and stronger, and that’s helped a lot.”

Murray’s offensive numbers are down to open this season, as he’s made just 38.7% of his shots from the field, including 29.6% of his three-pointers. However, he showed during an All-Rookie season in 2022/23 that he’s capable of being an offensive weapon — evolving into a legitimate two-way threat would further increase Murray’s value as a cornerstone piece for the Kings.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Greek team Olympiacos is showing interest in Kings big man Filip Petrusev, according to reports from and Sportando. Although Petrusev is on a two-year contract with Sacramento, only about $560K of his 2023/24 salary is fully guaranteed, so his roster spot for the rest of the season isn’t necessarily assured. Stavros Barbarousis of suggests that while it has been a frustrating start to Petrusev’s career – he has already been on three different rosters this season – he’s still focused for now on earning his place in the NBA.
  • While the Clippers have more top-end talent following the James Harden trade, they sent out four wings and forwards in that deal, leaving their roster somewhat thin at other spots, Terance Mann observed this week. “We don’t have much depth, I guess at a certain position,” Mann said, per Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. “It’s just a whole different scheme, you know. Now we have James Harden. So, you know … different.” Mann is expected to move into the starting lineup on Friday after Russell Westbrook volunteered to come off the bench.
  • Warriors guard Gary Payton II was diagnosed with a sprain after turning his left ankle in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss and was wearing a boot on the injured foot after the game, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter links). However, head coach Steve Kerr said X-rays on the ankle were negative and wasn’t prepared to rule him out for Saturday’s contest yet, so it remains to be seen how much time – if any – Payton might miss.

Pacific Notes: Harden, Warriors, Santa Cruz, Kings Depth, Booker

New Clippers guard James Harden discussed his desire to help the team win a championship during his introductory presser on Thursday, and the Clippers are much closer to winning a chip by acquiring him, Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register opines. However, Swanson argues that trading for Harden puts the Clippers under more public scrutiny, adding Harden to a list of big-name players alongside Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

The fit between Harden and Westbrook, who have played together twice before in Houston and Oklahoma City, will be interesting to watch unfold. Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times further explores the fit, adding that coach Tyronn Lue said he hasn’t yet talked to the two about splitting ball-handling duties.

I don’t predict the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know, bro,” Westbrook said. “But it’s going to be a process. It’s going to be ups and downs, going to be good games, bad games. It’s not just going to come together and mesh and we’re going to be perfectly fine. That’s unrealistic expectations for everybody. The realistic expectations, like I said, it’s going to be a process. I don’t have the answer to what that is.

Harden said he’s used to adjusting his playing style, having done so in Brooklyn and Philadelphia alongside other superstars, though he expressed displeasure with his role in Philly.

Somebody that can have that dialogue with me and understand and move forward and figure out and make adjustments on the fly throughout the course of games, that’s all I really care about,” Harden said. “It’s not about me scoring … 34 points. I’ve done that already.

Harden is in the final year of his contract and will earn about $35.6MM this season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors are off to a 5-1 start, but they are still figuring out certain lineups, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater observes. In particular, head coach Steve Kerr is still working through the team’s closing unit, and Jonathan Kuminga, Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II are all fighting for spots in that lineup, with Payton closing out Friday.
  • In the same article, Slater reports the Warriors sent Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis to the G League to get playing time in training camp with Santa Cruz. However, Draymond Green argued that the Warriors played with low energy on Friday and that not having the young players there hurt the team. “Next time we have an in-season tournament game, we need them here,” Green said. “You always talk about young guys bringing energy, that’s their job. We don’t have to tell those young guys to bring energy. They do every single day. I wasn’t overly shocked our energy wasn’t there because they lift our energy level. … We need them here. They are a big part of the fabric of this team. We missed them [Friday].
  • With both De’Aaron Fox and Trey Lyles still out for the Kings, Sacramento’s depth is being tested early on, The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson writes. Davion Mitchell and Sasha Vezenkov have been taking on the majority of Fox’s and Lyles’ minutes.
  • After returning to play Thursday, Suns guard Devin Booker is out again for Saturday’s contest against the Sixers, according to Duane Rankin (Twitter link). Head coach Frank Vogel is “hopeful” Booker will play in the second game of the team’s back-to-back on Sunday against the Pistons, but that the short turnaround mixed with ankle soreness is holding him out today.

Warriors Notes: Green, Joseph, Payton, Thompson, Paul, Gay, McGruder

The Warriors provided a minor injury update on Draymond Green, who expects to miss four-to-six weeks with a left ankle sprain. According to the team, Green will be reevaluated in two weeks (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Golden State also had an update on veteran guard Cory Joseph, who signed with the Warriors in free agency. Joseph sustained a back injury while preparing with the Canadian national team for the World Cup, which caused him to miss the tournament.

According to Slater, the Warriors described the injury as a lower back lumbar strain, and Joseph will be reevaluated in two weeks. That means he’ll miss training camp.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • At Monday’s Media Day (Twitter links via ESPN’s Kendra Andrews), Green said he was disappointed with the injury, but he’s pleased with how his ankle is responding thus far and is focused on being in “even better shape by the time, whenever it is, that I start playing … it’s an opportunity for me to get better and continue to improve.”
  • Guard Gary Payton II was limited to just 15 games last season due to a lingering adductor injury, but he’s healthy now and says there’s a “night and day” difference entering 2023/24. “Ready to play 82 (games),” he said, per Slater (Twitter link).
  • Klay Thompson will be a free agent in 2024 unless he signs a contract extension. As Andrews tweets, Thompson says it’s “possible” a deal comes together in the next few months. “If not, life is still great,” he said. “I’m playing basketball in my 13th year in the NBA.”
  • There’s been a lot of speculation about who will start for the Warriors this season after the team traded for Chris Paul, who has never come off the bench in his long NBA career. But Paul noted that he was a reserve for Team USA at the 2008 Olympics, and he’s not concerned about starting in ’23/24. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m all about winning,” Paul said, per Andrews (Twitter link). “Whatever I can do to help the team win.”
  • According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), both Rudy Gay and Rodney McGruder  signed non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 deals for training camp. Exhibit 9’s can only be one-year, minimum-salary contracts and do not count against the salary cap until the start of the regular season. Exhibit 9 contracts are primarily used to limit the team’s liability in the event of an injury.

Pacific Notes: Payton, Looney, Suns, Clippers

The impact that Gary Payton II is having in the postseason is validating for certain members of the Warriors‘ front office who were adamantly opposed to letting the guard walk in free agency last summer, says Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.

Payton has entered the Warriors’ starting lineup for the last two games of the team’s series vs. the Lakers and has scored double-digit points in both contests. Besides totaling 28 points on 11-of-14 (78.6%) shooting in those two games, Payton is a plus-28 in approximately 51 minutes of action and has helped the Dubs shore up their defense.

“Gary’s a game-changer and we knew that last year,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We don’t win the championship without Gary. So to get him back has completely changed our defense. … And then offensively, he’s so unique with his speed and his ability to finish around the rim. So it’s just, we’re a different team now that he’s back with us.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • ESPN’s Kendra Andrews takes a deep dive into how Kevon Looney, who once had his fourth-year rookie scale team option declined, has become such a crucial part of the Warriors‘ rotation.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines what’s next for the Suns after their second-round exit, noting that the team will need to prioritize improving its depth this summer after having too top-heavy a roster this spring.
  • Rival executives are curious to see which Clippers veterans may end up on the trade block this summer and are skeptical about the team’s ability to break through and win a title with its current core, writes Steve Bulpett of “I’m not sure what they can do,” one source told Bulpett. “They’re not going to get value for (Paul George or Kawhi Leonard) in any sort of deals. They just miss too many games, and that’s ruined the culture. It’s ruined the culture of the Clippers. Not knowing from night to night if you’re going to have PG or Kawhi just killed them. They didn’t know who was playing on any given night. It’s a train wreck. They’ve got some really good character guys on their team, but the culture is bad.”
  • In a pair of mailbags for The Athletic, Law Murray makes the case for why the Clippers shouldn’t blow up their roster this offseason, explores the likelihood of Russell Westbrook and Mason Plumlee re-signing in Los Angeles, considers which young Clippers might be in line for increased roles in 2023/24, and answers several more questions from readers.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Wiggins, Payton, Game 5

Warriors guard Jordan Poole has had an erratic second-round performance against the Lakers. Around the league, his overall postseason play this year has rival executives unsure to what extent Golden State still views the 23-year-old as a foundational piece for the younger core of its roster, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Poole inked a four-year extension worth a guaranteed $123MM this past summer. That lucrative new deal will take effect next season.

“I don’t know why the Warriors rushed to overpay him,” an executive told Pincus. “They could have given him the same money this summer. At least then, they’d know what his contract would mean to their situation,” the Eastern Conference executive continued. “He’s earning more than [Andrew] Wiggins, and Wiggins is way more valuable than Poole.”

Pincus wonders if the Warriors may look to offload Poole’s contract and negotiate new long-term deals with veterans Draymond Green, who has a player option for 2023/24, and Klay Thompson, who will be extension-eligible next season.

There’s more out of Golden State:

  • Wiggins holds no hard feelings about how his entry into the NBA played out, writes Mark Medina of Sportsnaut. Wiggins, the No. 1 draft pick in 2014, was selected by the Cavaliers before becoming the centerpiece of a trade to the Timberwolves that landed Kevin Love in Cleveland. Lakers All-NBA small forward LeBron James, now Wiggins’ opposition in his Warriors’ ongoing second-round playoff series, went on to appear in four straight NBA Finals alongside Love. “It’s the business side of basketball,” Wiggins said. “People get traded all the time. At the end of the day, they have a ring and I have a ring. It worked out.”
  • In a conversation with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Warriors guard Gary Payton II spoke about his offseason free agency, a challenging injury, and his return to the Warriors at the trade deadline. Payton wanted to re-sign with Golden State, where he had just won a title in 2022, as a free agent, but instead wound up taking a more lucrative three-year, $26.1MM deal with the Trail Blazers. “This is probably like my only one [long-term deal],” Payton said. “You know me, I’m like, ‘Yeah. I ain’t got probably one or two of these left, so I got to take it.'” A core muscle injury temporarily put his trade back to the Warriors in jeopardy, but ultimately Golden State decided to go through with the deal and bring him back. He’s now starting in the team’s second-round playoff series. “It was just a little hill,” Payton said of the injury. “But I feel like last year showed them last season if fully healthy can happen.”
  • Payton’s move to the starting lineup, an efficient shooting night inside the arc for Stephen Curry, more proactive offense from Green, and improved play from Poole and Wiggins are credited by Medina in a separate piece as key reasons the Warriors saved their season on Wednesday in a Game 5 home win.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Lakers Series, Offseason, Quinones

After scoring just 11 total points in Games 2 and 3, Warriors guard Jordan Poole had his worst game of the postseason on Monday vs. the Lakers. Playing a season-low 10 minutes, Poole went scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting and committed a pair of turnovers.

As Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area relays (via Twitter video), Poole was clearly frustrated when reporters approached him after the game and offered only brief responses to their inquiries. He deflected questions about his own play and focused on the fact that the Warriors will get a chance at home on Wednesday to start climbing out of their 3-1 hole.

While Poole isn’t one of Golden State’s superstars and shouldn’t necessarily bear the brunt of the blame for the team’s struggles in the series thus far, his “lack of playoff toughness and lack of interest” in speaking to the media about his performance make it seem like he’s “something less than a full partner in the Warriors’ operation these days,” writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. That’s troubling, given that the guard’s four-year, $123MM+ contract extension will go into effect this July.

In explaining his decision to only play Poole for 10 minutes on Monday, head coach Steve Kerr expressed confidence in the 23-year-old’s ability to bounce back later this week.

“It just wasn’t his night,” Kerr said, per Kawakami. “He didn’t have it going. It’s a game where you’re going possession by possession and we had other guys who were playing well. Moses (Moody) came in, did a great job. Donte (DiVincenzo) gave us good minutes. Gary (Payton II) obviously starting the game really gave us a lift. Just we went to other guys. That doesn’t mean Jordan can’t come in and play a big role in Game 5.”

Here’s more on the Dubs:

  • The Warriors have come back from a 3-1 deficit once before in the playoffs with their current core, winning three straight games to steal the Western Conference Finals from the Thunder in 2016. They pointed to that series as one reason why they remain hopeful about their chances against the Lakers, according to Kendra Andrews of “We made history before,” Thompson said. “The goal is to win one at home. We know we are capable of taking care of home court. It’s about staying present and not looking ahead. It’s fun to reflect on the past and learn from it and take that same competitive energy that brought us back in the past to today.”
  • There’s more at stake for the Warriors in this series than just the possible end of their season, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. President of basketball operations Bob Myers is on an expiring deal, Draymond Green holds a player option for 2023/24, and Klay Thompson is eligible for an offseason extension at the same time that the NBA is introducing a Collective Bargaining Agreement that introduces new limitations on the teams with the highest payrolls. In other words, a second-round exit could be the beginning of the end of Golden State’s dynasty, as the team faces an uncertain offseason.
  • Having finished the season on a two-way contract, Warriors guard Lester Quinones has been ineligible to play for the team in the playoffs, but he’s thrilled with how 2022/23 played out, as he tells Joe DiProsperos of He was named the G League’s Most Improved Player and appeared in his first NBA game for the team he grew up rooting for. “To get (to the NBA) and be on the same team that I grew up watching my whole life, it’s just a blessing,” said Quinones, who will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer.

Warriors Notes: Kuminga, Fifth Starter, Bounce Back, Road Woes

It’s time for Warriors coach Steve Kerr to let Jonathan Kuminga out of the doghouse, Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury News opines. Kurtenbach argues that Kuminga could provide much-needed size and athleticism against Lakers star big man Anthony Davis.

Kuminga didn’t play in Game 1 of the second-round series and only played a combined 19 minutes in the past two games, but he has looked pretty good in garbage time during those minutes, Kurtenbach adds.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Kuminga is one of a handful of options for Game 4, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State could also look at a small lineup with either Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Gary Payton II or Moses Moody filling the fifth slot.
  • The Warriors didn’t seem worried after getting blown out by the Lakers in Game 3 and with good reason, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic notes. The last eight times they have suffered lopsided defeats in the postseason, they’ve won the next game. That includes their Game 7 victory against the Kings in this year’s playoffs s after losing Game 6 at home by 19 points.
  • On the flip side, the Lakers’ home court has become a house of horrors for the Warriors, Thompson writes in a separate story. Game 3 was their fourth consecutive road loss to the Lakers and sixth in the last eight meetings. The last time they beat the Lakers on their home floor was in the 2021/22 season opener.