Welcome home: Walker headed back to Boston as Hawks acquire Payton
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Boston pulled off a blockbuster deal with
Atlanta just prior to Thursday’s trade deadline that saw the Celtics re-
acquire guard Antoine Walker, as well as cash considerations. In exchange, the
Hawks received disgruntled guard Gary Payton, veteran forward Tom Gugliotta,
center Michael Stewart and a first-round draft choice.
Walker, who is in his ninth NBA season, returns to the team in which he spent
the first seven years of his career. While in Boston, Walker played in three
All-Star games (1998, 2002, 2003) and averaged 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds
per contest, while leading the club to a pair of playoff appearances.
The 28-year-old Walker was obtained by the Hawks prior to this season in a
deal that saw Jason Terry head to Dallas. He is currently averaging 20.4
points and 9.4 rebounds in 53 games this year.
Before his short stint in Atlanta, Walker spent the 2003-04 campaign with
the Mavericks where he posted 14.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per
Originally drafted out of Kentucky with the sixth overall pick in the 1996
draft, Walker was traded to Dallas in 2003 after having a rocky relationship
with executive director of player operations Danny Ainge.
Payton was in his first year with Boston after being acquired from the Los
Angeles Lakers in the offseason and is averaging 12.1 points and 6.1 assists
in 54 games.
The 36-year-old Payton threatened not to play with the club after being
obtained in the summer, but eventually arrived and was reportedly in talks for
a contract extension. Payton will be a free agent following this season.
Last season, Payton was brought to LA at a reduced rate, in addition to the
recently-retired Karl Malone, to try and win their first NBA championship.
However, the mission fell just short as the Lakers lost the NBA Finals to
Detroit in five games.
Payton, who also had an extremely brief stint in Milwaukee, is in his 15th
year, which included spending the first 13 seasons in Seattle. Drafted with
the second overall pick in the 1990 draft, Payton is the SuperSonics’ all-time
points, assists and steals leader.
“The Glove,” who was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1996 and was an NBA
All-Defensive First Team selection in eight consecutive seasons (1994-2001),
has averaged 17.7 points, 7.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game
during his Hall of Fame career.
Payton was also named All-NBA First-Team in 1998 and 2000 and was selected to
the NBA All-Star Team on nine occasions. In addition, Payton was a member of
the gold medal-winning 1996 and 2000 U.S. Men’s Olympic Teams.
Gugliotta is in his 14th NBA season and has also spent time with Washington,
Golden State, Minnesota, Phoenix and Utah. In his career he is averaging 13.2
points and 7.4 boards per contest, but his totals have severely dipped over
the last several years as he has battled through various injuries.
The North Carolina State product, who was selected with the sixth overall pick
in the 1992 draft, is posting 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in only 20 games
Stewart, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Sacramento, has averaged
2.2 points and 3.2 boards in his career, which also included stops in Toronto