NBA Rumors: The Reason The Trail Blazers Gave Up On Gary Payton II

Gary Payton II was a great cinderella story on last year's Golden State Warriors' championship team. But he cashed in and signed a big contract in free agency last summer to head to the Portland Trail Blazers. But he only played 15 games in Rip City before they shipped him out, back to Golden State. Why? 

According to Blazers beat writer James Quick of The Athletic:

A source, who was granted anonymity so that they could speak freely, says a reason (Gary) Payton (II) was traded was he indicated he didn’t want to be in Portland and was ecstatic to return to Golden State, an embarrassing development for (new Blazers GM Joe) Cronin’s first free-agent signing.

In fact, Quick added, “If you pay close attention to the players who have left Portland in the last year, there has been an unabashed excitement upon getting traded. Almost like a relief.” Whoa. 

What's going on with the vibe in Portland? It certainly doesn't paint a rosy picture for the possibility of impending free agent Jerami Grant remaining in The City of Roses, either. 

We might eventually get to hear more from Payton, but in the meantime, he's back in his comfort zone with the Warriors, where he hopes to repeat his gritty, breakthrough performance of last season in helping the Dubs to a bigger kind of repeat.

 Photo: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports