Sources: Warriors go through with 4-team Gary Payton trade

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Monday, February 13, 2023

The Golden State Warriors completed a four-team trade that allows guard Gary Payton II to pass his physical and three more players --- James Wiseman (Detroit), Saddiq Bey (Atlanta) and Kevin Knox (Portland) -- cleared beginning Monday, sources told ESPN on Sunday night.

The Warriors -- who held up the trade after team doctors raised concerns about Payton's injured abdomen -- will await an NBA inquiry into the Portland Trail Blazers' alleged failure to provide relevant pre-agreement medical information, sources said.

Findings of wrongdoing could cost the Blazers draft picks and fines and could result in re-examining the package of five second-round picks that the Warriors traded the Blazers to acquire Payton, sources said.

The Warriors had been discussing the issue with the league office throughout the weekend, and with a 9:30 p.m. ET deadline looming Sunday night, the trade sending Wiseman to Detroit, Bey to Atlanta and Knox to Portland was completed, sources said.

After Payton arrived in a Thursday deadline trade with the Blazers, his physical with the Warriors revealed that his lingering abdomen injury would leave him sidelined for a significant part of the remaining season, sources said.

The Warriors shared with the league what they believed to be evidence that Portland failed to provide relevant medical information on his condition prior to agreeing on the trade, sources said. Also, the Blazers didn't inform the Warriors that Payton -- who missed 35 games after offseason abdomen surgery -- had been taking the pain-killing medication Toradol to help allow him to play in games this season, sources said.

The trade couldn't be amended or changed because the league's trade deadline passed Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

The NBA could punish Portland with a fine and loss of draft picks if an investigation were to discover "a failure to disclose relevant information." The Warriors believe they should've been told that Payton had been using Toradol to alleviate pain, sources said.

The Warriors moved Wiseman, the 2019 No. 2 overall pick, to the Pistons in the trade. Detroit moved Bey to the Hawks, and Knox to the Blazers. The Warriors sent five second-round picks -- including two via Atlanta -- to the Blazers in the deal. The rest of the players have passed physicals and joined their new teams. They will be able to begin practicing and playing Monday.

Blazers general manager Joe Cronin told reporters Friday in Portland that his team was "confident" that Payton was healthy.

"Player safety is super important to us, it's a super important thing around the league," Cronin said. "We were playing him, he was playing, and he had been cleared and we were confident that he was healthy when he was playing. We would not have brought him back if we thought he wasn't healthy or if he was at risk. So you trust that we did the right thing and trust that our process was correct."

Payton, 30, signed a free agent deal with the Blazers after breaking out with the Warriors a year ago. Golden State reacquired Payton believing that he would improve its perimeter defense. Payton averaged 4.1 points in 17 minutes. He has two years and $18 million left on his contract.

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