The fact of the matter though is that Gary Payton and Damon Stoudemire are likely the best two point guards that we can acquire in free agency. Tyronne Lue works well too, but I'm thinking he's an LLE acquisition as a backup. Gary isn't close to what he used to be but he still put up 11.3 points, 6.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.14 steals a game last season. People here complain about his defense, but he's still a decent defender, he's just not the glove. Obviously he can't stick with the Tony Parkers of the world any more, but few can. That's where Lue would earn his money.
As far as Gary's anger with the Lakers, his dislike for Phil and for the triangle... Two years ago Gary Payton came to the Lakers as a huge free agent acquisition, he took far less money than he could have got with other teams to become a Laker. He had averaged 20.4 points, 8.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.66 steals a game the season before. It's not at all uncommon for superstars to be the last ones to notice when their game is slipping. Rather than admitting that father time has tapped their skills they often turn to other reasons to explain the diminishment. In Seattle Gary could create and dominate. In the triangle, and with three other superstars (two who were clearly more talented at this stage of their careers), Gary saw his role seriously diminish.
He went to Boston last season after some whining, and costing hte Lakers Banks, and he acted as if he were in prison. He couldn't wait to get out of there and on to a contender. But when the trade deadline came, and he wound up in Siberia he had to have realized, other teams aren't seeing him as a valuable commodity any more. Why else would he resign with Boston? The team he had made it no secret all season long that he didn't want to play for? He claims he liked what was happening there with Walker, but more realistically, it's the best offer he could get. If that didn't make things clear to him this Summer should have. This quote is from ESPN Insider a couple days ago:
Who needs a tough, veteran point guard? Who knows? Said Gary Payton's agent, Eric Goodwin: "I would imagine quite a few teams would want his services, I just don't know who they are yet."
According to the Boston Globe, the Celtics aren't among the interested teams. Said Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently concerning Payton: "We're moving in a different direction."
That says it all right there. Gary's a free agent, yet there isn't much interest in him. Because he's an aging superstar who refuses to believe that his star has faded. He's a bright guy though,eventually he'll get it. I think him rejoining the Lakers would be a sign that he's willing to come to terms with that fact, by going into a situation that two years ago was less than ideal for him, because it's probably going to be the best offer available to him.