Phoenix Suns: 5 Underrated Transactions That Built This NBA Finals Team

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Signing Cameron Payne

To fill their roster for the bubble, the Suns made what many saw as an insignificant signing: inking a deal with point guard Cameron Payne.

At this point, Payne’s career as a basketball player was overshadowed by his dancing sequences with Russell Westbrook. However, what barely went noticed was how well Payne was playing since being cut by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in 2019.

He first started turning things up during his short stint in China, and then he would ball out in the G-League soon after, even earning a Player of the Week Award for the Texan Legends. This likely prompted the Suns to sign him.

But Payne refused to let his new team down in the bubble, and played like one of the best sixth man options in the league, scoring and facilitating at a great level. After making valuable contributions off the bench in the regular season during the second year of his contract, the biggest moment of Payne’s NBA Career would come in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

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Deputising for the injured Chris Paul, Payne provided a point guard masterclass, as he added 29 points, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks with no turnovers to give the Suns a 2-0 lead vs the Clippers. He joined LeBron James, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson as the only players to put up a 29-point and nine assist performance with zero turnovers in a Conference Finals or NBA Finals game.