PHOENIX SUNS

Suns GM: Landry Shamet, Cam Payne ‘will be back in short order’

Feb 9, 2022, 5:08 PM | Updated: May 5, 2022, 6:17 pm

The Phoenix Suns continue to boast the best record in the Association despite numerous injuries since the start of the new year.

A lot of that has to do with the added minutes both Chris Paul and Devin Booker have had to take on with the likes of Cam Payne (wrist) and Landry Shamet (ankle) on the shelf.

And with the NBA’s All-Star break on the horizon (Feb. 18-23), general manager James Jones and Co. are hoping to get two of the team’s key rotation players healthy for the final 27 games of the regular season.

“Landry is probably ahead of Cam, so our hope is to get him back before the All-Star break,” Jones told Arizona Sports Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.

“(Payne) is progressing. I’ll let the medical guys determine that,” he added. “He’s in here every single day. Whether he’s back before the All-Star break, I’m not really sure. But he’s in a good spot.

“Every day he feels better and at this point, I just think it’s a matter of time before he can get back into game shape because it’s not just the injury — it’s getting himself into a position where when he comes back to play, he doesn’t just play, he’s capable of playing well.”

Jones has been persistent on liking the team that he constructed during the offseason and won’t make a reactionary move because of minor injuries.

Whereas a season-ending injury and a setback to Dario Saric (knee) and Frank Kaminsky (knee), respectively, warranted the acquisition of center Bismack Biyombo.

“No, you’re talking about the extreme short term,” Jones said when asked if he would make a move because of the injuries to Shamet and Payne. “The decisions we continue to make around the roster are long-term in nature.

“It’s not like the guys in our rotation are out for the season. … The guys that we’re leaning on — Landry, Cam Payne — those guys will back in short order and we got guys like Jalen Smith, who during those injuries had an opportunity to show that they can play, so I think we’re in a good spot.”

Another ideology for teams in their championship window is to mortgage future picks in order to compete for as many titles as possible right now, with the anticipation of those draft picks being late in the first round anyway.

Jones has already proven he’s willing to deal a first-round draft pick, as the Oklahoma City Thunder own the Suns’ first 2022 selection after the trade that saw Paul call the Valley home.

“I’m not afraid of making moves and trading draft picks. Eventually draft picks have to become players,” he said. “If you have to trade a pick to get a player, you do it. We did it with Chris, we’ve done it many times. That’s not what holds you up.

“What holds you up is that we have 20 teams that are trying to make the playoffs. We have six to eight teams who really believe they have a shot at winning the title and that’s what they’re going for. It’s one of those things where in order to acquire players, you have to get that player from some team that doesn’t want a good player. And we all know how that works in this business — it’s extremely tough.”

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