“I decided to leave the Warriors, and this is why”

After a new title won last June, the Warriors struggled to maintain the framework that allowed them to be crowned champions. One of the major starters also reconsidered his choice, and revealed the reasons with great frankness!

If sporting logic were the only thing to prevail in this kind of situation, the teams lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy each year would not have to change the slightest part of their roster. And yet, no team crowned champion can claim to approach the following season without having undergone the slightest alteration. The latest example illustrates this tacit rule well.

Winners of the Celtics in the last NBA Finals, the Warriors have indeed sought to retain most of their players during the offseason. And yet, six of them have already decided to make a new start away from San Francisco Bay. Whether it’s to start a new adventure, get more playing time elsewhere… or other more taboo reasons.

Gary Payton II cash on his departure from the Warriors

Among the major plays who left Golden State this summer, Gary Payton II represents arguably the most damaging loss. Last guest of Truth & Basketball Podcast by George Karl, GP2 openly reconsidered its choice to leave the reigning champions for Portland. A decision which was justified above all by the economic aspect, which the 29-year-old back confirms without filter:

I decided to leave the Warriors for the money. I had to accept this money. I had to, coach. Negotiations with Golden State were unsuccessful, although I would have loved to go back. But it just didn’t happen. Timing and so many other things, it was a deal that made sense to me from a business point of view. So I looked no further, and took the money.

Impossible to blame a player who seeks to ensure his future by putting the check of his life ahead of a solid and ambitious sporting project. Even less when he displays the path strewn with pitfalls of Payton. Undrafted when he left Oregon State in 2016, the latter took a long time to make a (pre)name and find a real, well-defined place in the league.

Passed by the Bucks, the Lakers and the Wizards, he also had to wait more than a season before asserting himself at the Warriors. Finally becoming indispensable in the eyes of Steve Kerr last year, he could only capitalize on this success as he approached his thirties, and accept the 26 million dollars offered by the Blazers. A departure that his ex-teammates, who appreciated him so much, understand and therefore gladly accept !

An important part of the Warriors’ last winning run, Gary Payton II publicly admits that money was the main driver of his departure. Fate did things well, however, since this decision allows him to find Oregon!

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