Payton has shown a decent amount of promise in his first four NBA seasons, but he was never able to put together enough consistent offensive production in neither Orlando nor Phoenix for either team to keep him around. Payton did show how he can contribute across the box score last season, averaging 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, and he gives the Pelicans another quality option at point guard to pair with Jrue Holiday in the backcourt, especially if they don't manage to re-sign Rajon Rondo for some reason.
Reports surfaced a few days earlier that the Suns would renounce their rights to Payton and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, so the news that the club doesn't plan to re-sign him isn't surprising. The Suns shipped only a 2018 second-round pick back to Orlando in February in order to give Payton a trial as their starting point for the final month and a half of the season, but the 24-year-old didn't make much of an impression. In his 19 games with the Suns, Payton averaged just 11.8 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 20 percent from three-point range and 68.5 percent from the charity stripe. His consistently poor shooting has driven down Payton's value and may force him to settle for a backup role regardless of where he lands this offseason.
Payton's scoring production decreased slightly from the 2016-17 season but he shot a career best 49.3 percent from the floor and 32.6 percent from three-point range. The former Louisiana-Lafayette star posted two triple-doubles during his fourth NBA season, one with the Magic and one with the Suns. Payton and the Suns hold a qualifying offer of $4.5 million for next season and having been traded for a second-round pick at the trading deadline, it figures the Suns will match any offer Payton receives during free agency in July.
Payton (knee) is out for Tuesday's game against the Mavericks, Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic reports.
Payton will be unavailable for the Suns' season finale due to a knee injury that has cost him the past six contests. After being traded to the Suns at the deadline, he averaged 11.8 points on 43.5 percent shooting, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 29.0 minutes across 19 appearances.
Payton (knee) is not expected to play in Tuesday's season finale against the Mavs, Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com reports.
No surprise here, as Payton has already missed seven consecutive games while battling soreness in his left knee. He hasn't technically been ruled out, but according to Bordow, interim coach Jay Triano "all but declared" that the point guard would not play.
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