Report: Suns exploring trade of PG Cam Payne; Pacers’ T.J. McConnell on radar

Jul 13, 2023, 9:13 AM | Updated: 1:18 pm

Cam Payne, T.J. McConnell...

Indiana Pacers' T.J. McConnell , right, is defended by Phoenix Suns' Cameron Payne, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

(Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

The Phoenix Suns have “continued to explore trade scenarios” to offload backup point guard Cam Payne and have shown interest in Indiana Pacers guard and Arizona Wildcats product T.J. McConnell as well, reports Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer.

Whether those two items are directly related are unknown, though Fischer adds that there were whispers during the Vegas NBA Summer League action of a potential deal involving other teams.

The report from Fischer indicates Phoenix isn’t yet settled despite the roster being at 15 players, the maximum to begin a season.

More shuffling would be necessary, too, if the Suns indeed are wanting to sign free agent Bol Bol as it’s been reported. Bol was released by the Orlando Magic and cleared waivers.

Payne has been up and down the past two years with injuries limiting him from returning to the stellar play from the 2020-21 season, which helped Phoenix reach the NBA Finals. Last year, he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 assists over 48 games, shooting 42% overall and 37% from three.

The 28-year-old sparkplug enters a contract year after his $6.5 million deal became fully guaranteed at the end of June.

McConnell, 31, has carved out a solid reputation as one of the league’s most trustworthy backup lead guards in four-year tenures with Philadelphia and then Indiana.

He averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 assists per game last year, shooting 54% overall and 44% from three — though the latter came on only 0.8 attempts per game.

On the other end of the spectrum from Payne in terms of being selective about his shot attempts, McConnell is known more as a defensive pest. He averaged 1.3 steals per 22 minutes over his eight NBA seasons.

McConnell will make $8.7 million this season, and his deal is partially guaranteed for next year.

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