Former Champion Guard Returns To Golden State

The Portland Trailblazers are reportedly trading Gary Payton II to the Golden State Warriors for five second-round picks, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Golden State recently acquired the five draft picks from the Atlanta Hawks in a multi-team deal that included the Pistons that involved a trade with their former No. 2 overall pick C James Wiseman for Saddiq Bey. 

The Warriors essentially swapped Wiseman for the return of Payton II. 

Payton II, who won a championship last season with the Warriors, left the San Francisco club this past summer in free-agency and signed with the Trailblazers. Golden State would go on to regret not re-signing the versatile guard that helped them win a ring last season, and have traded for his return to reinforce their wing-play/defense. 

The reigning and defending champion Warriors (28-27) have struggled so far this season and could be looking to use Payton II to help return them to their former glory, especially on the defensive end. 

With the recent injuries to their superstar point guard Stephen Curry, who remains on the sidelines until at least after All-Star break due to a leg injury, Payton II will be needed to help fill the gap. Payton II has averaged four points per game, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 assists this season. 

Also, with the conclusion of the NBA Trade Deadline as of 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, Portland decided to keep a hold onto their draft compensation from the Warriors. However, the Trailblazers did opt to trade Josh Hart to the Knicks for Cam Reddish on Wednesday in an attempt to help shake up their roster ahead of the postseason. 

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