The question isn’t “does Gary Payton have the basketball knowledge to coach in the NBA?” If you’ve ever spoken to the Hall of Famer, you know he does.
The question is the lifestyle — an NBA assistant coach spends a lot of time watching and breaking down film, working with guys late after practice, putting in long hours and dealing with a lot of travel for not a ton of money or glory. It’s a grinding job.
Does Payton want to make that sacrifice?
There is reportedly interest from Jason Kidd in Milwaukee and Byron Scott in Los Angeles as they fill out their coaching staffs, and Payton said on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday that he is 50/50 on the idea.
“This stuff is just rumors right now,” Payton said. “I went to Summer League and I was with Jason (Kidd) for a long period of time and we had a couple of conversations.
“I’m getting interested now. A lot of guys knew I wasn’t interested in coaching, but now I’m getting a little interested. I see these young guys out here that needs some help and some guidance from a guy like me. It’s there, but I like what I’m doing right now, I like Fox Sports 1.
“It’s just talk right now. I got to put my mind to it, I got to think about making sacrifices and doing other things. But you know if I get into basketball I don’t know what will happen. I could be a head coach in three, four, five years I just don’t know.”
Payton lives in Los Angeles much of the year now, that seems a more likely landing spot than Milwaukee, despite the ties to Kidd.
Back when he played, “The Glove” was known as a defensive stopper, but the hand check and contact on the perimeter rules are enforced differently now. Payton has told PBT he’s not sure how well he could defend in today’s game — he had great battles with Michael Jordan but he could get physical with MJ in a way that just can’t be done anymore.
Not that Payton couldn’t help a lot of guys with defensive positioning, fundamentals and knowing the system. Plus, don’t forget Payton was just an all-around great point guard at both ends. The man knows the game.
Does he want to coach it is the question.