Gary PaytonIn the aftermath of Kobe Bryant‘s legal woes, the Lakers have something to celebrate, as All-Star guard Gary Payton has verbally agreed to take $4.9 million to play with the team next season.

Payton’s commitment ends days of speculation that he would get a sign-and-trade offer with Milwaukee, and play for the Portland Trail Blazers, or even sign with the Miami Heat. In the end however, Payton’s desire to win a championship as a Laker was the deciding factor, according to his agent Aaron Goodwin.

Also according to published reports, Payton may end up signing a multi-year deal with the team.

Payton’s verbal agreement may be a signal that future Hall of Fame free agent forward Karl Malone is close to agreeing to play for the Lakers next season as well. Stay tuned!

News Link: ESPN – “Payton to ‘follow dream’ with Lakers”
News Link: ESPN – “Payton signing may mean another L.A. final”