BOSTON -- Gary Payton was back in Celtics green Friday
night, one week after Boston shipped him off to Atlanta in a trade
for Antoine Walker.
Payton, who re-signed with Boston on Friday after being waived
by the Hawks, said he chose the Celtics over Sacramento and
"I thought Boston was the better fit," Payton said before the
Celtics faced Charlotte on Friday night.
"With the young guys, I thought I was obligated to come back to
them and teach them some more," he said. "The young kids were
calling me almost every day saying 'come on back Gary.' I decided
it was the right fit to come back here."
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The 36-year-old guard was traded to Atlanta with Tom Gugliotta,
Michael Stewart and a first-round draft pick at the NBA trading
The deal brought Walker back to Boston, where he played seven
seasons before being shipped out 1½ years ago. But it also left the
Celtics without an experienced point guard.
"To add Antoine here, it seems like a good fit and we could go
pretty far if I would come back," Payton said.
Payton started for the Celtics on Friday night, finishing with
10 points and four assists in Boston's 104-84 victory over the
Payton's welcome back to Boston was a markedly different scene
from when he was initially dealt from the Los Angeles Lakers during
the offseason. Then, there were questions about whether he would
report because Boston was so far from his West Coast home.
But Payton proved a good addition, averaging 12.1 points and 6.1
assists, bonding with teammates and providing valuable leadership
for the team's young guards.
"I started here and I have a relationship with these kids that
made it a little easier [to return]," he said.
Payton said he didn't consider playing for the rebuilding Hawks.
A week after being traded to the Hawks and then waived by them, Gary Payton re-signed with the Celtics on Friday.