Blazers reportedly sign Gary Payton II, bring back Anfernee Simons
One of the "core" members designated by Portland Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin is reportedly staying put as expected.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simons has agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract after he was made an official restricted free agent Wednesday, June 29, when the Blazers offered the deal.
A price tag of $25 million per season is a little higher than expected for the fifth-year guard, but after the season he had -- where he was one of the most efficient and best shooters in the league -- the Blazers wanted to lock down their other starting guard alongside Damian Lillard.
Next on the radar for the Blazers is figuring out a deal for unrestricted free agent center Jusuf Nurkic, who is also expected to sign back with Portland relatively soon following the opening of free agency.
Coming late in the night, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that Portland is inking former Oregon State star, and now NBA champion, Gary Payton II to a three-year, $28 million deal.
Payton established himself last season with the champion Golden State Warriors has a strong defensive guard off the bench that brings energy and effort every night. Nothing new to Beavers fans, who now get to see Payton bring those same talents to the Moda Center.
The Payton moves does bring about questions of the future for guard Josh Hart. The Blazers are projected to have Lillard and Simons start, with Payton, No. 7 overall pick Shaedon Sharpe and Hart on the bench. Depth at the guard spot could provide Portland some potential ammo to make another move.
Also, Joe Ingles decided his stay in the Rose City would be short, taking his talents to the Milwaukee Bucks on a one-year deal. Portland received Ingles last season after he suffered a season ending injury with Utah and the Blazers traded for him in an effort to dump some salary.
Along with locking down Simons and bringing in Payton, the Blazers also released their summer league roster, which begins with practice in Las Vegas on July 2, followed by the first game at 9 p.m. July 7 on ESPN.
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The roster includes 2022 draft picks Shaedon Sharpe and Jabari Walker, as well as most of the late season signees Portland brought on during its tank-a-thon.
Greg Brown III, Didi Louzada, Keon Johnson, Trendon Watford and Brandon Williams are the five already on the Blazers roster heading down to Vegas to join the draft picks.
Joining those seven are Kyle Alexander (Tennessee/Urbas Fuenlabrada), Josh Gray (LSU), George King (Colorado/Augua Caliente), Craig Randall II (Tennessee-Martin), Colbey Ross (Pepperdine/CEZ Nymburk), Romello White (Ole Miss/Keravnos Strovolou) and Luka Garza, considered one of the best players in college basketball a couple seasons ago during his time at Iowa.
Other scheduled Summer League games include a 7 p.m. July 9 matchup with New Orleans (ESPN2), an 8 p.m. July 11 tip with New York (ESPN2) and a 6:30 p.m. tip July 14 with Houston (NBATV).
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