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Phoenix Suns sign 2015 1st-round pick G Cameron Payne

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 04: Cameron Payne #22 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 4, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns have signed 2015 first-round pick Cameron Payne, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is for two years, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who first reported the agreement.

Over 153 career NBA games, Payne is averaging 6.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, shooting 39.7% from the field.

Payne was picked 14th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015 NBA Draft. He struggled to carve out a role and remain consistent with the Thunder, who traded him to the Chicago Bulls at the 2017 trade deadline in a package for Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson.

He also couldn’t get anything going in Chicago. Payne was waived by the Bulls in January of last year and played out the rest of the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Toronto Raptors signed Payne to the team’s training camp but he did not make the final roster and was not on an NBA team during the 2019-20 season.

Payne signed with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanxi Loongs in late November and moved on from the CBA in early January. He wound up back in the NBA landscape, playing with the G League’s Texas Legends before the season was paused due to the coronavirus.

The Suns have two roster spots available to use before the league’s transaction window closes on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. for all teams. Payne will presumably take the 15-man roster spot open while the Suns still have an open two-way position they can fill after waiving Jared Harper.

Payne will have to compete with the likes of Jevon Carter, Elie Okobo, Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque for backup point guard minutes behind Ricky Rubio, a busy group even if the Suns were to be eliminated from the playoffs and sit some key players.

Mandatory individual workouts begin for the Suns on Wednesday and the team will depart for Orlando on July 7. They start the season on July 31 against the Washington Wizards.


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