Gary Payton II made his return to the Golden State Warriors lineup Sunday night in a home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though the Dubs fell by a final score of 99-96, for the veteran, his experience on the night was more than just another outing.
During his post-game media session, the guard was asked if his first game back lived up to “expectations.” In response, Gary Payton II chuckled, followed by him stating how much love he felt from the franchise’s faithful followers.
“I didn’t have any,” Payton said. “I already knew it was love, you know, since I’ve been back from Dub Nation. It’s just a nice welcome home, but, you know, I mess with Dub Nation like that so it’s all love.”
In 15 minutes played, Payton put forth a solid performance in his return to the Warriors. The 30-year-old finished the night with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist on 75.0% shooting from the floor and 50.0% shooting from deep.
His production in game one of his second stint with the franchise also managed to catch the eye of Steve Kerr. During his post-game media session, the Warriors’ head coach would state that Gary Payton II did “a great job,” while noting that he “looked good physically.”
This latter comment is quite important, as the guard missed 20 straight games following his return to the Warriors this season due to a core muscle issue.
Prior to 2023, Payton spent two seasons with Golden State before inking a lucrative three-year, $28 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers this past summer.
He was then traded back to the Bay Area just a few months later at the February 9 trade deadline.
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