The Golden State Warriors have multiple key rotation players headed for free agency this summer, one of whom is Gary Payton II.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports that despite the Warriors being the "favorites" to retain Payton this offseason, the point guard is expected to generate interest on the open market. One team likely to pursue him is the Dallas Mavericks, who Slater says are "considered among the most serious suitors."
Before the Mavericks pursue Payton, they have an unrestricted free agent of their own to address in Jalen Brunson. Slater noted that Brunson's decision will have a domino effect on the rest of the market.
Payton's preference likely is to stay put this offseason after the Warriors' run to the 2022 NBA championship. In addition to Golden State's success being a key selling point, Payton's development on the court alongside players such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is an attractive reason for him to continue his run with the team.
"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," Slater wrote.
Payton appeared in 71 regular-season games for the Warriors and averaged career-highs of 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He also made a major impact during the early part of Golden State's postseason run but was forced to miss time after fracturing his elbow during the second round against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 29-year-old returned for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics and helped secure a title for his team in six games. In 12 postseason games, Payton shot 65.9 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from three-point range.
In addition to Payton, the Warriors' key free agents include Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala.