Perhaps we got too excited too quickly. A day after the Golden State Warriors traded James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons, and reunited with Gary Payton II in the process, Payton failed a physical. The abdominal issue that sidelined Payton to start the season, and limited him to 15 games this year, is apparently more severe than the Warriors realized, and threatens to keep him out for the rest of the season.
Just in: A failed physical exam of Gary Payton II has placed the Golden State-Portland-Detroit-Atlanta four-team deal in serious jeopardy, sources tell me and @anthonyVslater. Payton's core muscle injury could sideline him for up to three months following a Warriors exam.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 11, 2023
Despite the different parts of the trade getting revealed at separate times, it was technically a four-team deal that the Warriors made with the Blazers, Pistons, and Atlanta Hawks. The entire deal — which saw the Warriors get Payton, the Pistons get Wiseman, the Blazers get Kevin Knox II and five second-round picks, and the Hawks get Saddiq Bey — is now in jeopardy.
In other words, the Warriors might not get Payton. And if they don’t, Wiseman will return. Which would be tremendously awkward.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Warriors have until Saturday to decide whether or not to move forward with the trade, while everyone’s status hangs in the balance.
The Warriors have until Saturday to go through with the trade -- or have the entire four-team deal be rescinded, sources said. Golden State re-acquired Payton at the trade deadline on Thursday. https://t.co/ewWalgLFNl— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 11, 2023
According to Charania, Payton, who had surgery in the offseason, “had been playing through pain in Portland. Sources added that the Blazers training staff had been pushing him to gut through it, giving him Toradol shots. This had not been relayed to the Warriors during the negotiation process.”
My gut reaction is that the Warriors will still go forward with the trade. Even if Payton can’t play this year, the Warriors will save tens of millions of dollars with this deal, and have Payton under contract for the next two years. Unless the team’s training staff thinks Payton’s injury will be an issue beyond this year, it would make more sense to just move forward than to awkwardly welcome back Wiseman, just to trade him in the offseason.
Safe to say Bay Area sports fans are sick and tired of physicals. This news comes less than two months after MLB star Carlos Correa failed a physical the day before the San Francisco Giants were set to introduce his 13-year, $350 million contract.
Update: Blazers GM Joe Cronin has spoken about the situation.
Blazers GM Joe Cronin defended the Blazers handling of Gary Payton II, saying the team would not have played him if they did not feel he was healthy or was at risk. Full comments: pic.twitter.com/fi0Na4tK1B— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 11, 2023