posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 09:58 PM
All Gary Payton wants is a little respect. And maybe to play for a team other than the Celtics.
After the Lakers traded Payton to Boston, the All-Star point guard was reportedly furious, didn't show up for his required physical with his new team
and, on Sunday, told the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise that he will quit if facing entering the Celtics' training camp in October.
"I'll quit," Payton told the newspaper. "I can go on and do something else.
"I wasn't going to Boston to take a physical. I ain't going to move my family no more. I can't take my family to Boston."
Payton said he didn't have anything against the Celtics, but that he felt the Lakers had failed to honor their agreement with him when Payton
exercised his one-year $5.4 million contract option to continue to play in Los Angeles.
"It's about respect," Payton told the Press-Enterprise. "[The Lakers] didn't respect me. Why should I respect them?
"They used me so they could get other players," Payton said, adding that "Boston is going to lose out on this. They ain't going to get nothing."
The 14-year veteran was traded to the Celtics, along with Rick Fox, for Chris Mihm, Chucky Atkins and Marcus Banks. The Celtics also received a
conditional first-round draft pick and cash in the deal and sent a second-round pick to the Lakers.
Banks, however, returned to the Celtics in a trade amendment Friday; Jumaine Jones went to L.A. instead. If Payton quits, with Fox reportedly
considering retirement, the trade would leave Boston with only the draft pick and cash.
Payton, 36, also told the Press-Enterprise that he would forfeit the $5.4 million if he had to, saying he didn't care about the money.
Danny Ainge, director of basketball operations, delivered an update on Payton's status Monday.
Ainge said he has spoken with Payton's agent, Aaron Goodwin, every day for the past week, but has not heard from Payton since making a trip to his
California home Aug. 9 in an attempt to convince the disgruntled point guard to come to Boston.
"There are no updates as far as Gary's desires," Ainge said. "We're still very excited, and very hopeful, of getting Gary in a Celtics uniform."
Goodwin confirmed his client's intentions in Monday's Boston Herald, and agreed that the Lakers had told Payton that they wanted him back.
"The stunner here isn't playing for Boston. The stunner is what the Lakers did," Goodwin said, explaining that the Lakers "didn't keep their word."
Payton is reportedly upset with the trade because, among other things, he has a 16-year-old daughter about to start high school and is unwilling to
relocate his family.
Payton has also said he never would have re-signed with Los Angeles if he knew the Lakers didn't want him back. Payton's choices now are to either
report to Boston or retire, but Ainge says he thinks Payton will wind up in Boston.
"I think Gary was shocked about the way the whole thing went down," Ainge said. "The issues Gary is facing with his family are real. [But] I'm
optimistic and hopeful that Gary will come and play for the Boston Celtics."
But Goodwin tempered his client's refusal to play for the Celtics, despite Payton's insistence that he wanted a trade to the Timberwolves, Clippers or
Rockets, saying Payton has not made a final decision on the matter.
"Right now he hasn't even digested the fact that he's been traded," Goodwin explained. "He respects the Boston organization, and he sees this as a
Ainge said he spoke with Banks, the Celtics first-round pick in 2003, over the weekend and cleared the air after reports that Banks was upset about
"We never wanted to move Marcus, so we're excited to get him back," Ainge said. "He never wanted to leave. He's excited to be back. There were just a
couple days there where they were just kind of freaking out."