This week, the San Antonio Spurs waived Cameron Payne (6’1”, 183 lb). The team had acquired him in July from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a 2024 second-round draft pick.
The 29-yeard-old combo guard was the subject of Knicks news earlier this summer. In July, Michael Scotto (Hoopshype.com) reported, “New York, Phoenix, and Indiana had exploratory discussions on a three-team trade where Cam Payne would’ve joined the Knicks, TJ McConnell would’ve joined the Suns, and Evan Fournier and draft pick compensation would’ve gone to the Pacers, league sources told HoopsHype. There were also variations of the talks, which involved Jordan Nwora, HoopsHype has learned. Had the trade come to fruition, New York would’ve created a traded player exception of over $19 million. However, talks have since stalled.”
While the Knicks are chock full of guards, having Payne in their back pocket would not hurt if New York cannot agree to contractual terms with reserve guard Immanuel Quickley.
Cameron Payne was drafted 14th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015 NBA draft and played two seasons with them before being traded to the Chicago Bulls in 2017. He spent three seasons with Chicago before being waived. Next, he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers on a 10-day contract, followed by a stint overseas with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). In 2020, he joined the Phoenix Suns as a key bench player, contributing to the team’s 2021 NBA Finals appearance.
Across 327 regular-season games, the Murray State has averaged eight points and 3.4 assists. Lifetime, he is a 36% shooter from downtown and has a defensive rating of 110.
Cameron Payne has averaged 10.9 points and 5.6 assists rebounds in ten games versus the Knicks in his career. You may recall the March 2022 game, when he logged a career-high 16 assists and 17 points to defeat the Knicks, 115-114. And in Semi-Final Game 6 of the most recent playoffs, he lit up the scoreboard for 31 points against the Denver Nuggets (and outscored teammate Kevin Durant, too).
There’s little argument that he can score in spurts and distribute the ball well. Plus, he has appeared in big games and can add veteran leadership to the locker room. Still, this writer would prefer to allocate any spare minutes to Deuce McBride instead, even if it is always fun to hear Walt Frazier say, “Cam-Payyyne.”