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Spurs to release former Suns PG Cam Payne

Payne will be a free agent, free to sign with any team

2023 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the San Antonio Spurs plan to waive former Suns backup point guard Cam Payne. He will soon be free to sign with any team (including the Suns, but don’t hold your breath).

The Phoenix Suns traded Payne to the San Antonio Spurs on July 17 this summer, after they’d built out the whole top-heavy roster. The Suns also sent along $5.6 million in cash and New Orleans’ second round pick along with Payne, while the Spurs sent back only a heavily protected 2024 second round pick (will only convey to Suns if it lands in the 50-54 range, which would only happen if the Spurs finish near the top of the West).

Now that the Spurs are simply releasing Payne, the math works out that the Spurs bought the Pelicans’ 2025 second round pick for about $900k in cash. And if anyone signs Payne for the 2023-24 season to offset that last $900,000, the Spurs got a pick for free. That’s a bargain considering second round picks were being bought for $3-4 million during the 2023 draft.

I know it’s what we do as sports fans, but don’t feel bad for Cam Payne. He’s doing just fine. No matter what, Payne will make $6.5 million dollars this coming season. And now he’s a free agent — he can sign with any team that wants a veteran backup point guard.

Payne is a solid, if inconsistent, backup. In a starting role, he can put up 15 points and 6 assists. As a backup, he’s good for 10 points and 4 assists on average.

Could he re-sign with the Suns? Even if they could (they cannot for one year), they wouldn’t. The Suns not only traded him, but they paid the Spurs almost his entire salary AND threw in a second round pick. So I don’t think they want him back. They’ve have basically replaced his minutes with Jordan Goodwin, who is younger and provides more value on the defensive end, and a little bit of Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

Maybe watch out for the Brooklyn Nets, where he could reunite with buddies Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson? Stay tuned. The old ‘Suns in four’ gang has broken up and won’t be getting

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