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Gary Payton II injury could wipe out Golden State Warriors’ 4-team trade

Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors

While the Golden State Warriors didn’t make the biggest move of the NBA trade deadline, they did pull off a four-team deal that came with significant financial ramifications and influenced the futures of several young players. Now, an injury to Gary Payton II could nullify everything.

Golden State officially announced its involvement in a multi-team trade on Thursday night, welcoming Payton II back to the franchise. While a statement from the team technically made the deal official, it can’t be processed until all players involved pass their physicals.

The original deal involved the Warriors, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers. In exchange for parting with James Wiseman, Golden State would reunite with Payton II and add second-round picks. All four teams came away from the deal happy, but Payton’s medical exam could now be a problem.

  • Golden State Warriors receive: Gary Payton II, two second-round picks
  • Atlanta Hawks receive: Saddiq Bey
  • Detroit Pistons receive: James Wiseman
  • Portland Trail Blazers receive: Kevin Knox, five second-round picks

Related: 2023 NBA Draft order

Latest on Golden State Warriors’ four-team trade, Gary Payton’s injury

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, a physical revealed that Payton II is dealing with a core muscle issue that could force him to miss up to three months of action. While the teams are discussing their options, the deal is operating against a Saturday deadline.

Golden State can either push forward with the deal through a technical pass or the entire four-team trade becomes rescinded. The Warriors reportedly didn’t know about the issues until conducting the physical, but Payton II had reportedly played through pain for much of the season.

There are additional layers of complexity regarding this deal. If the trade is revoked, all players involved will be returned to their former clubs with tensions created between a player and an organization that traded them away.

Furthermore, Golden State would also face significant financial ramifications. It traded Wiseman, the former No. 2 pick, to clear more than $50 million in luxury tax costs this season and $85 million next season. If Wiseman returns, the Warriors are on the hook for those financial hits.

Detroit was meant to serve as a fresh start for Wiseman, providing him with a chance to compete for minutes on a rebuilding team with no pressure to perform at a high level. As for Bey, the 6=foot-7 wing was set to provide some much-needed depth for Atlanta.

Payton underwent abdominal surgery before the 2022-’23 NBA season, which Portland expected to heal in time for the first game. However, it took longer for him to work his way back than expected, with numerous setbacks and recurring pain causing him problems.

Related: NBA playoff predictions

The NBA will allow all four teams some time to try and figure things out, with all parties motivated for different reasons to push this through. If Payton’s injury provides too many hurdles, though, this could be one of the largest trades wiped out by an injury.

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