Suns PG Cam Payne: ‘No vendettas’ after dust-up with Lakers’ Alex Caruso

May 24, 2021, 3:51 PM

Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) throws the basketball at Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso...

Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) throws the basketball at Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) behind referee Bill Kennedy, right, during the second half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Lakers 99-90. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Do we have a Goran Dragic-Sasha Vujacic situation on our hands?

It was more than a decade ago when the Suns’ Slovenian backup point guard and the Lakers’ Slovenian backup point guard clashed in the Western Conference Finals, the last time Phoenix was in the postseason.

There are no Slovenians involved in 2021, but Game 1 — a 99-90 Phoenix win — provided another altercation between backup guards from the Suns and Lakers.

A mad scramble following LeBron James’ free-throw miss led to a dust-up between Suns point guard Cam Payne and hard-nosed Lakers guard Alex Caruso. Payne was assessed two technicals, while Caruso and teammate Montrezl Harrell earned one apiece.

Payne had run into Caruso, and Caruso then took offense and attempted to tap the ball out of Payne’s hands. Payne threw the ball at Caruso’s feet, spurring Harrell to sprint across the court to break things up.

“I just felt like (Caruso) undercut me first and it was a no-call,” Payne told reporters Monday. “I didn’t mean to knock him … to the ground. Got to sell it. He fell. Then he came, retaliated and I retaliated. That’s probably the part I shouldn’t have did.

“It’s not something that I do. I apologized to every single player that walked in (to the locker room). After coach got done talking, I apologized to him. They was all on my side. They said they had my back. … I just want to win. That’s my only goal. I don’t have no vendettas against no players, not trying to get nobody. I’m just a competitor, to be honest.”

Payne may regret throwing the ball at Caruso after the Lakers guard reacted to being hit.

Even more weird, though, was that Harrell caused a gathering of both teams as he sprinted in the direction of the two guards and accidentally ran into Payne while attempting to separate the two players.

“It kind of came out of nowhere. I didn’t expect him to grab me. I was kind of weird,” Payne said. “What Trez did, I’m pretty sure it was all good intentions,” he added. “Asked me if I was good and I was fine. The play was over to me, it was all good — tick, tick, tick, I was going to be cool.”

“It was weird how they gave out the Ts, but it’s all part of the game, all part of the series, I’ll say.”

A series that got a little testy just one game in.

Phoenix Suns

Isaiah Collier #1 of the USC Trojans handles the ball against the Washington Huskies in the first h...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Isaiah Collier and a Suns’ argument for going best-player-available

If the Suns really do want to just grab not the best player available but the best prospect, the shortlist is topped by USC's Isaiah Collier.

5 hours ago

Marquette guard Tyler Kolek...

Arizona Sports

2024 NBA mock draft tracker: Who might the Phoenix Suns select with the 22nd pick?

The Phoenix Suns own the No. 22 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft and with a salary-capped roster have few avenues to improve their team.

8 hours ago

LeBron James and Bronny James...

Kevin Zimmerman

Rich Paul: LeBron James is not signing with Suns on a veteran’s minimum contract

Rich Paul said Bronny James' landing spot in the 2024 NBA Draft won't impact LeBron James, who won't sign a minimum with the Phoenix Suns.

11 hours ago

Cal's Jaylon Tyson and USC's Bronny James, shown playing against each other in January, are among r...

Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns pre-NBA Draft workout tracker

With the 2024 NBA Draft coming up on June 26-27, potential draftees have begun working out for the Phoenix Suns.

14 hours ago

Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons...

Arizona Sports

Report: Monty Williams fired by Pistons a year after being let go by Suns

Monty Williams, who was fired by the Phoenix Suns before landing a massive contract from the Detroit Pistons last summer, has been fired.

15 hours ago

Tyler Kolek...

Arizona Sports

Tyler Kolek visits the Valley for Suns workout ahead of NBA Draft

Tyler Kolek, a guard from Marquette and potential first-rounder, has been linked to the Suns and added more fuel to the fire on Tuesday.

1 day ago

Suns PG Cam Payne: ‘No vendettas’ after dust-up with Lakers’ Alex Caruso