Pat Riley confirmed what most of us expected on Friday, that Gary Payton will not be back in Miami next season for the Heat.
GP's coming off the 17th season of his career, a career that has made him 1) the greatest player in Sonic history and 2) a World Champion. Not bad for a kid from Oakland with a penchant for talking smack.
I'll save the post-mortem for Payton's career for when it happens, so allow me to ask this question of the Sonics' management: Is there any way you can make this happen? To Sam Presti, et al, does the good feeling generated by signing Payton to a one-year contract trigger anything within you?
Let's be honest, Payton isn't bringing much to the table these days, and he won't have a big impact on the team's won-loss record. But in a season where the team's interest in winning is secondary to player development, is it such a sacrifice to bring in one of the most beloved players in team history? Considering the horrific public relations job undertaken by the current ownership group, wouldn't it help to mend a few fences?
Perhaps I'm being overly sentimental and not seeing the NBA for the business which it surely is, but this is a game, after all, and the greatest reason teams make money is through making fans. I can't think of any signing this off-season that would make as many fans as signing Gary Payton would.