The Golden State Warriors didn’t just swallow hard and complete the trade for Gary Payton II despite his uncertain availability over the season’s remainder because they so sorely need the defensive disruptiveness and overall versatility he provides when healthy.

As Bob Myers told reporters on Monday, the front office also considered what it would mean for James Wiseman—traded to the Detroit Pistons in the four-team deal—to return to the Warriors given his likely inability to help the defending champions both now and going forward.

“If we’d seen a path for James upon return that had changed, we might’ve considered that even going forward as we get into next season,” he said of the possibility of  Golden State rescinding the trade. “We’ve seen what Gary can do, and it’s not any kind of indictment of James. It’s a hard rotation to crack on this team.”

Myers also pointed to financial ramifications as justification for the Warriors ultimately completing the trade. Joe Lacob’s luxury-tax bill this season has been cut by approximately $7 million as a result of swapping Payton for Wiseman, and ownership stands to save about $30 million in projected tax payouts next season, when the former No. 2 overall pick’s salary balloons to $12.1 million.

Wiseman began 2022-23 as Golden State’s backup center, quickly falling out of Steve Kerr’s rotation amid wholesale bench struggles during the defending champions’ 3-7 start. He was assigned to the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors in mid-November after a string of DNP-CDs, then was recalled a few weeks later as the Dubs were ravaged by injuries.

The subtle progress Wiseman showed in scant minutes off the bench in mid-to-late December was interrupted, though, when he sprained his left ankle in practice before a home win over the Portland Trail Blazers. He missed the next month of action, cleared to play in late January only to once again be on the outside looking in at regular playing time.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

“Do the math. It’s hard to get four centers into a game, especially in 2023,” Kerr said of Wiseman’s place in the rotation upon his return from injury. “So, I think we’re looking at it like game-to-game. We’re looking at the matchups, and seeing who’s available and just going from there.”

Payton, still dealing with lingering discomfort associated with September surgery to address a core muscle injury, will be re-evaluated in a month. While Myers said the hope is he’ll be able to play before the end of the regular season, there’s no concrete timeline for Payton’s full recovery.

Either way, much as the team likes Wiseman and is disappointed by Payton’s injury status, Myers seems fully confident Golden State’s decision to both agree to and ultimately finish the trade was the right one.

“Moving [Wiseman] was something we did just more based on trying to help this team win,” he said. “…He’s a third-year player but he hasn’t got the minutes of that. I think we had to evaluate [whether] he’s gonna get those here, and it didn’t seem like that.”

The Pistons apparently plan to give Wiseman the burn he never got with the Warriors. Detroit’s current plan is to make him the team’s new starting center, ahead of promising rookie Jalen Duren and young veterans Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III. There’s obviously no guarantee Wiseman locks down that role for good; he definitely won’t  if the Pistons get the No. 1 pick in the draft.

But helping Wiseman live up to at least some of the pre-draft and prep-school hype that’s long made him a household name isn’t the Warriors’ problem anymore. Even with Payton sidelined, lifting that burden alone should make things easier on Golden State as the season’s stretch run dawns.