If Payton gets back to Finals, call it a trend

Take note, Bucks fans: The last time Gary Payton was in a contract year, he went to the Finals.

Updated: July 22, 2003, 5:28 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Editor's note: As part of "The Stein Line" every Monday, ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein takes you around the league for the latest news in "Coast to Coast."

The Milwaukee Bucks, rather suddenly, believe in omens.

That's because the last time Gary Payton was in a contract year was the 1995-96 season. That's the same season, incidentally, that Payton led the Sonics to the NBA Finals.

In the East, where almost nothing's impossible, no one is ruling out the possibility that ...

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