The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on the choices facing Gary Payton.

Gary Payton should be placed on waivers today by Atlanta and, assuming he clears, the point guard is leaning toward a return to the Celtics.

     “We’ve reached an agreement with the Hawks, and things should be in place no later than early (today),” said Payton’s agent, Aaron Goodwin. “It’s just going to be a matter of getting the paperwork approved by the league.”

     The unlikelihood that Payton will be claimed off waivers is based on the fact a team would have to be more than $5.4 million under the salary cap or have an exception that size to take on the veteran.

     Payton then will be free to sign where he wishes, and Goodwin said yesterday he has had some interesting calls from teams which reportedly include Miami and Phoenix.

     “Quite honestly, Gary’s out with his family and his mom, and I haven’t talked to him much,” Goodwin said. “I think he’s leaning toward coming back to the Celtics. I think he likes what’s going on in Boston. I still have to talk to him about things, but I think that’s where he wants to end up. But you never know with Gary.”

     Meanwhile, the Celtics don’t appear to be counting on anything with Payton just yet. There still is interest in bringing back Kenny Anderson, who was waived by the Hawks to make room for their new players. Anderson said he will sign with either the Clippers or Celts.