Warriors contemplating Payton..

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:28 am
Column by Monte Poole
Article Last Updated: 01/13/2008 02:43:18 AM PST


GARY PAYTON still sees the court, still dissects strengths and weaknesses, and, of course, offers commentary. Inactive but not retired, Payton studies several NBA teams, one of which is the Warriors.
At age 39, he even imagines himself on coach Don Nelson's roster.

"I like Nellie, the kind of ball they play," Payton said during a recent phone interview.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are open to the idea.

"You know what he would bring," vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin said. "So ... possibly. We're open-minded. There are some ifs on both sides."

Rumors have circulated for a couple of weeks that Payton, who has not played since last season in Miami, is pondering a return. Given the circumstances, the Warriors are a logical option.

"(Oakland) is my home," Payton said, "so I'm looking at it. We've talked back and forth a little bit. They're doing what they have to do, and I'm doing what I have to do. I have a some things to think about, and so do they."

With point guard Baron Davis among the league leaders in minutes played, the Warriors are living dangerously. A dependable backup point guard would allow Nelson the luxury of reducing Davis' minutes.

Mullin and Nelson have several options. They can stick with C.J. Watson, the Developmental-League call-up who has five days remaining on a 10-day contract. They can continue to shop. They can make a trade. Or they can reach a deal with Payton.

The Skyline High product
ain't what he used to be, but he would seem to fit their needs.
He's experienced, familiar with the league and anticipates playing limited minutes. Though Payton's natural mentality is that of an outspoken leader, he has reached the point where he would embrace a backup role. He could spell Davis as needed, allowing him to stay fresh during the second half of the season and, perhaps, into the postseason.

It's significant to note Payton has BD's endorsement.

"He's from here, and he's got that veteran leadership," Davis said. "He's got that swagger. And he's a defensive-minded (player) who's won a championship."

The Dubs would not be getting — nor do they need — the Payton of old. In his prime, The Glove was an All-Star who rarely left the floor, playing lock-down defense, controlling tempo and talking the filthiest trash in the league.

Does Payton have the wheels to merge with the high-speed Warriors? He ought to be able to go 12 minutes per game, for half a season.

"I think so, but I'm not sure," Nelson said. "It's not impossible. But there is risk involved."

The primary risk of signing a player approaching his 40th birthday is the higher likelihood of injury. Payton, naturally wiry, concedes he has some work to do to get in "game shape."

Once Payton is ready to return, he has to determine whether he's willing to commit to his hometown team or make himself available to another team he follows.

"One reason we never announced his retirement is that Gary hadn't decided whether he would come back," said Aaron Goodwin, Payton's Oakland-based agent. "There are a couple situations that are starting to look pretty good to him."

Another of which would be Boston, which rebuilt itself last offseason and owns the best record in the league. The Celtics, who also need a veteran point guard, are attractive because they are one of three teams — with San Antonio and Detroit — in every championship conversation.

Payton spent most of the 2004-05 season with the Celtics, knows coach Doc Rivers well and has friendships with fellow Oakland native Paul Pierce and Oakland Tech and Cal product Leon Powe.

Goodwin acknowledged Payton is likely to return. He did not deny the possibility of Payton joining the Warriors — or, for what it's worth, the Celtics — saying only that money would not be an factor in Payton's destination.

Geography, however, might be. Payton, his wife, Monique, and their children own a primary residence in Las Vegas, a short flight from Oakland. Moreover, joining the Warriors would allow Payton a chance to finish his career under unfamiliar conditions — playing before family and friends.

After accepting a scholarship to St. John's — only to have then-coach Lou Carnesecca renege — Payton signed on at Oregon State. He stayed for four years, becoming an All-American and graduating with a degree in broadcast communications before being taken second overall by Seattle in the 1990 draft.

Though Payton's career has taken him from Seattle to Milwaukee to Los Angeles (Lakers) to Boston and Miami, he always has considered himself an ambassador for Oakland.

He is close to his father, Al Sr., who tutored Gary during his youth, and his mother, Annie, a cancer survivor who is "doing pretty well," according to her youngest son.

Gary has observed several Warriors home games this season and has felt the passion running through Oracle Arena. He knows Mullin well, likes the team and has evolved from a demanding teammate to one who plays his role.

"I wouldn't go to a team that's struggling," Payton said. "But I'd have to get my workout on. If I'm gonna play, I'd have to get ready."


Monte Poole
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:09 am
I dont understand why they would even consider him. Watson has been playing well, and deserves more playing time, not an outright release. Payton will be a popular player, but not the most productive. I would be mad at this point if they sign him.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:40 am
same with me. no need for payton, at least not now. see today what cj brings again. maybe he would change considering payton a probable W.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:25 pm
sfsfsfgiants wrote:I dont understand why they would even consider him. Watson has been playing well, and deserves more playing time, not an outright release. Payton will be a popular player, but not the most productive. I would be mad at this point if they sign him.


At the game on Friday CJ seemed pretty popular...everyone rose to their feet when he entered th game.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:30 pm
sleandres wrote:
sfsfsfgiants wrote:I dont understand why they would even consider him. Watson has been playing well, and deserves more playing time, not an outright release. Payton will be a popular player, but not the most productive. I would be mad at this point if they sign him.


At the game on Friday CJ seemed pretty popular...everyone rose to their feet when he entered th game.


Yeah, he was, but that applause would be minute compared to the massive ovation Gary would get. Partially because he is a good player who will help this team win, but moreso the fact that he is an Oakland guy coming back home. I have no doubt that Gary would get much more of an ovation that C.J. Watson ever would.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:33 pm
sfsfsfgiants wrote:
sleandres wrote:
sfsfsfgiants wrote:I dont understand why they would even consider him. Watson has been playing well, and deserves more playing time, not an outright release. Payton will be a popular player, but not the most productive. I would be mad at this point if they sign him.


At the game on Friday CJ seemed pretty popular...everyone rose to their feet when he entered th game.


Yeah, he was, but that applause would be minute compared to the massive ovation Gary would get. Partially because he is a good player who will help this team win, but moreso the fact that he is an Oakland guy coming back home. I have no doubt that Gary would get much more of an ovation that C.J. Watson ever would.


True, but as real fans, we want to see what CJ is about before they even consider Payton.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:38 pm
sleandres wrote:
sfsfsfgiants wrote:
sleandres wrote:
sfsfsfgiants wrote:I dont understand why they would even consider him. Watson has been playing well, and deserves more playing time, not an outright release. Payton will be a popular player, but not the most productive. I would be mad at this point if they sign him.


At the game on Friday CJ seemed pretty popular...everyone rose to their feet when he entered th game.


Yeah, he was, but that applause would be minute compared to the massive ovation Gary would get. Partially because he is a good player who will help this team win, but moreso the fact that he is an Oakland guy coming back home. I have no doubt that Gary would get much more of an ovation that C.J. Watson ever would.


True, but as real fans, we want to see what CJ is about before they even consider Payton.


But many fans out there would rather see a name like Payton rather than a kid like Watson out there. Ya know?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:27 pm
no matter what happens ill be happy. whether its payton or watson. of course watson right now is looking real good and could productively spell baron some minutes. is like to see payton in a warriors uniform before he finally retires tho...i mean, he wouldnt get hella time, but he would be just as productive, if not more so, than troy hudson was.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:11 am
Well, I think the main reason why we want him, or even considering him, is because of the playoff experience he has. Maybe come playoff time for us, the man could help loosen Ellis and the young cats on the team...I mean, we are one of the youngest teams in the NBA.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:54 am
We'll see. Watson's contract is up Tuesday. If he's not resigned to another 10-day, I have a feeling we're gonna go after Payton. If he does, Payton may have to wait. I like Watson. He'd come cheap in the offseason and has a chance to play for us for years as backup to Baron for now and Monta in the future.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:13 am
If the team beliaves Watson can be a long term answer for our backup PG, there's no point in going after Payton, even if he could be a slight improvement for this year.

After all, it's a backup we're talking about.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:41 am
goldenstate0fmind wrote:Well, I think the main reason why we want him, or even considering him, is because of the playoff experience he has. Maybe come playoff time for us, the man could help loosen Ellis and the young cats on the team...I mean, we are one of the youngest teams in the NBA.

i agree. i also think that getting payton would wake up the dog in us and the fight. payton has always had a winning attitude and has been a vocal leader on every team he's been on. he could keep jackson calm, get buike fired up, and maybe even teach barnes how to send a message to the other team without tossing them into the stands.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:12 am
xbaywarrior wrote:We'll see. Watson's contract is up Tuesday. If he's not resigned to another 10-day, I have a feeling we're gonna go after Payton. If he does, Payton may have to wait. I like Watson. He'd come cheap in the offseason and has a chance to play for us for years as backup to Baron for now and Monta in the future.



And that's what I think may happen, the team will go for Payton instead. As EMan just said, Payton could really make the team better with his winning and tough attitude
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:04 am
Payton can't play anymore. At least, not like CJ Watson can play.

I hope the Warriors keep him after that 10-day contract. He seems legit. Payton, on the other hand, is at the point where he's just trying to latch onto a winning team. Although I admit he's better than having NO backup point, he's definitely not a better option than CJ Watson (and probably more expensive, too).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:54 pm
32 wrote:Payton can't play anymore. At least, not like CJ Watson can play.

I hope the Warriors keep him after that 10-day contract. He seems legit. Payton, on the other hand, is at the point where he's just trying to latch onto a winning team. Although I admit he's better than having NO backup point, he's definitely not a better option than CJ Watson (and probably more expensive, too).


Yeah, his quickness alone makes him intruiging. Not to mention he can actually hit his free throws. Let's keep him around a little longer and see what he can do.
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