NBA Champ Officially Set To Return For Warriors

It's official: Gary Payton II is finally set to make his return and his season debut with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, per Chris Haynes.

The Warriors acquired and brought back Payton from the Portland Trail Blazers at the trade deadline. However, Golden State's physical revealed an abdominal injury that still needed healing. Portland allegedly failed to disclose the NBA champ's injury to the Warriors during the trade process.

This led to stand-still days after the trade went down. But ultimately, Golden State decided to push through with the deal and bring home the fan favorite.

After years of bouncing around the NBA and the NBA G-League, the second-generation guard finally found a home in the Bay Area. Payton became a key cog of Golden State's defense, playing nearly 18 minutes per game last season, while averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals.

He was injured for the majority of the Warriors' playoff run due to an injury he suffered at the hands of Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, but he did manage to return in the NBA Finals, where he gave the Warriors a major boost defensively.

In five Finals games versus the Celtics, he averaged 7.0 points and even turned in a 15-point outing in the pivotal Game 5 win.

Payton got the bag and signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Blazers in the summer. He only managed to play 15 games in Portland due to the abdominal injury.

The Warriors currently sit at 6th in the Western Conference with a 38-35 record and have rattled off three straight wins. Payton's energy and defense will certainly be a welcome re-insertion to this depleted roster that is still without Andrew Wiggins.

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