Gary Payton II is on the Dallas Mavericks’ radar following a successful campaign with the Golden State Warriors. While one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, he hasn’t been able to get himself a significant role on a team due to his offensive shortcomings.
This past season, though, the guard showed how valuable he can be during the playoffs, despite missing several games due to injury, helping the Warriors win another championship.
The Mavs are looking to sign another 3-and-D wing with their taxpayer mid-level exception in order to take some of the load off of Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock, who both played over 38 minutes in the playoffs. Jason Kidd is believed to be after another such player who could defend on the perimeter.
Payton II fits the mold and, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, is wanted back by the Warriors. The player is understood to be interested in coming back as well, yet Golden State isn’t keen on spending a lot this year.
“The Warriors are considered to be the favorites to retain Payton’s services. It isn’t a secret how much he loves the Warriors’ environment, the Bay Area and his fit as a defensive pest and off-ball slasher in a Curry-fueled environment. But the favorite label — as in the situation regarding Looney — is far from a guarantee, still a few days from the starting bell,” Anthony writes.
“Payton is expected to command interest on the open market. The Mavericks are considered among the most serious suitors. Dallas still has the Jalen Brunson unrestricted free agency to resolve. His decision could have a domino effect on the market. So could Looney’s eventual price tag, as it relates to the Warriors and their willingness to keep shoveling money onto a skyrocketing tax bill.”
The Mavs could really put the pressure on Golden State by offering the player the full taxpayer mid-level exception and forcing them to match it. It would prevent them from re-signing Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica unless they’re willing to accept veteran minimum deals. Dallas would have an open route to Payton II if the Dubs decide to pursue the two veterans instead.
While the Mavericks only have a $6.3 million taxpayer mid-level to offer, it’s a lot better than what the Hall of Famer’s son made last term, which totals less than $2 million.
Things could have had an entirely different look given the Kyrie Irving saga, though. The point guard has decided to opt into his $37 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets this week. The feeling is that the player will remain with the Nets but a trade is still a possibility and his opting in will make it a bit easier for him to move to another team.
There won’t be any uncertainty over his status or fear of him taking another pay cut like he did last season. He will be a player on an expiring contract - such players are typically very easy to trade, much easier than impending free agents.
Teams trigger a hard cap at the luxury cap apron, which is expected to be around $155.7 million next season, when they acquire players through a sign-and-trade.
According to reports, Dallas was one of Irving’s preferred destinations. The Los Angeles Lakers are thought to be the most likely to sign the one-time NBA champion but the Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks were all reported as potential landing spots for Irving, based on his choices.
There’s still no telling where Kyrie will end up despite his opting in and fans will just want to wait and see. We imagine the Mavs wouldn’t immediately jump at the chance.
The Heat’s no-nonsense culture probably means they wouldn’t be interested in Irving but might be ready to pursue Kevin Durant should the former fashion a move. The 76ers only just got James Harden out of a situation in Brooklyn and he would likely hate to get stuck with Kyrie again, though he is a free agent this summer. Harden has said he wants to remain in Philly and, as you can bet on sports with Pennsylvania sportsbooks, there might be odds on what happens with either guard.
In any case, the Knicks are the only team that could comfortably go for Irving but they’re actually keen on Dallas breakout star Jalen Brunson. New York traded out of the first round of the recent NBA Draft entirely with Brunson in mind and they’re understood to be ready to offer him a four-year $100 million deal to join them after his stellar season in Dallas.