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NBA World Reacts To The Gary Payton II Speculation

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 3: Gary Payton II #0 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 3, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 3: Gary Payton II #0 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 3, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Gary Payton II is one of multiple Golden State Warriors players who is eligible for free agency, and the team is said to want to retain the 29-year-old guard.

In his most extensive NBA action to date, Payton appeared in 71 regular season games for the NBA champs, averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per outing. 

According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater, the Warriors like Payton's defensive-minded skill set are still the "favorites" to keep him in free agency.

However, if he hits the open market, the Dallas Mavericks are "considered among the most serious suitors," Slater wrote. 

Based off the reactions from Warriors fans on Twitter, the fan base will be unhappy if "The Mitten" goes elsewhere. 

Payton led the NBA in steals per 36 minutes this season with 2.8, and he was a major factor in the NBA Finals after returning from a broken elbow suffered earlier in the playoffs.

He registered three steals apiece in Games 5 and 6 and even chipped in with 15 points in Game 5. It seems like Payton is a strong fit as a complementary piece for the Dubs.

We'll see if they feel the same way when free agency opens later this week.