Trail Blazers Big Off-Season Signing Set To Make Season Debut

It was a big coup in the offseason when the Portland Trail Blazers signed free agent defensive specialist Gary Payton II away from the champion Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, he underwent surgery for a core muscle injury shortly thereafter, and hasn't been ready to play... until now. Payton will finally make his season debut tonight.

Payton II signed a 3-year, $26M deal with Portland in the offseason. His recovery process from the surgery wasn't supposed to last past opening night. But as he continued to work towards a return, he experienced intermittent soreness, pushing back his debut. Now, 35 games later, he's ready to go. 

And it couldn't come at a better time for the Blazers, who've lost four of their last five and had just eight players in uniform plus the 2 two-ways for Friday night’s loss to Payton's old team, the Golden State Warriors. It was a good night for Gary, however, as he received his championship ring.  

Now he'll get to bring that championship savvy to the Blazers on the court. 

Photo: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports