Goodwin, who has not returned numerous calls from the Journal Sentinel, told the Times that Payton was weighing his options and apparently would prefer to play with the Los Angeles Lakers. Goodwin said the Bucks were working on possible sign-and-trade deals with the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Unless the Bucks work such a deal with the Lakers, the only way Payton would end up playing with Shaquille O'Neal and Co. would be if he accepted the mid-level salary cap exception slot, worth an estimated $4.5 million to $4.9 million next season. Payton made $12.6 million last season.
"If the opportunity occurs, we will work closely with Aaron to explore any sign-and-trade possibilities that are mutually beneficial to both parties," Harris said.
Harris found Payton's decision a disappointment.
"Yeah, but on the other hand, it's good that there's obviously something to talk about and that people know where everybody's kind of coming from now," he said.