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Gary Payton II drops a key 1-word update on Warriors future

Golden State Warriors, Gary Payton II

As was the case after the team’s previous three NBA title wins over the last decade, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers will have multiple crucial roster decisions to make in the offseason. Among them, he is set to face a dilemma regarding the future of Gary Payton II with the team.

After being cut ahead of the season, Payton was brought back by the Warriors on a contract that initially only included $350,000 in guaranteed money — a decision that paid off in the long run for both sides. He not only went on to post career highs across the board over the campaign, but he also emerged as quite a vital role player in the 2022 NBA Finals.

Payton is set to hit free agency later this month, and when asked on Saturday whether he would like to stay put with the Warriors, he kept it simple with a one-word answer.

“Absolutely,” Payton said.

Payton further added that he aspires to put pen to paper on a multi-year deal.

Myers noted after the Warriors’ NBA Finals win against the Boston Celtics that he does not “anticipate a lot of changes” with the roster, although he may face a challenge in keeping Payton. The versatile guard holds early Bird rights, as the Warriors will be able to sign him to a contract worth up to 105 percent of the league’s average salary in the 2021-2022 season, which could then see him be in line for a deal worth around $10 million per year.

Stephen Curry has noted to Myers before that he does not want Payton to “go nowhere and have him guarding me in games.” Myers will have to open up the checkbooks in order to prevent the guard from taking his talents elsewhere.