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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gary Payton II is returning to his Pacific Northwest roots, agreeing to a $28 million, three-year contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed on Friday that Payton would depart the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to join a backcourt alongside Damian Lillard and lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe, selected with the seventh overall pick in last Thursday’s draft.

When the season ended, longtime journeyman Payton acknowledged he couldn’t wait to finally get his payday in free agency. A G Leaguer for so long, Payton was cut before the season began and he was ready to take a video job with the organization before being re-signed.

Payton said he couldn’t wait “to just relax and take a breath.”

“It’s just relief just after everything on the journey, just everything I’ve been through,” Payton said on Warriors’ exit-interview day June 18.

The 29-year-old Payton — son of former Seattle SuperSonics star Gary Payton — emerged as a defensive stopper for Golden State, returning from a broken elbow to contribute in the NBA Finals against Boston that the Warriors won in six games.

Payton was injured when Grizzlies star Dillon Brooks committed a hard foul across Payton’s head on a layup attempt during the second round. He fell awkwardly at Memphis on May 3.

Brooks received a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected, then suspended for one game without pay for what the NBA called “unnecessary and excessive contact.”

Payton’s efforts off the court helped make him a fan favorite and meant so much to the Warriors and San Francisco, too. He received the NBA’s Bob Lanier Community Assist Award on May 31 for his work supporting dyslexic children and pushing for early assessment.

He averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds over a career-high 71 games, Payton’s first season playing regularly.

The Athletic first reported Payton’s new contract.


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Detroit Asks to Push Legacy Pension Payment Schedule by 10 Years

by Scott McClallen


Facing a $131 million annual pension bill due in July 2023, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration filed a lawsuit to request city pension funds extend by 10 years its repayment schedule from 20 to 30 years.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court says a more extended payment plan would cost the city less over an additional decade as it approaches the “pension cliff” when it must resume payments.

However, the Police and Fire Retirement System of the city of Detroit still supports a 20-year amortization schedule.

“The PFRS has a fiduciary obligation is to ensure that benefits are paid to retired police, firefighters and their beneficiaries. Further it is our job as a board to ensure the system’s funds are properly invested and managed to provide for future funding,” Chairman Dean Pincheck said in a statement. “Trustees have heard from our actuarial and other financial advisors that have run numerous what-if scenarios based on multiple funding models including 30-year, 20-year and others. The 30-year model may be better for city budgets but is not in the best interest of retirees.”

The lawsuit says that actuarial mistakes in Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment caused accrued liabilities in two legacy pension plans of about $500 million.

For nine years, the city of Detroit has largely dodged pension payments via its 2013 bankruptcy agreement. The city plans to add $90 million into the Retiree Protection Fund, a dedicated IRS Section 115 Trust, and reach a $460 million balance before July 1, 2023.

Detroit has so far placed $355 million in the fund for both PFRS and General Retirement System beneficiaries. Still, Pincheck said they preferred the initial repayment schedule.

“We understand the fiscal position of the administration as the reason for the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to request a 30-year amortization of pension funds versus 20 years,” Pincheck said. “We believe the Board of Trustees vote in support of the recommendation of the PFRS Investment Committee to favor a 20-year repayment versus 30 years was and remains the correct position on this matter.”

Detroit received $826 million in one-time federal stimulus money from the American Rescue Project Act.

– – –

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.


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