Phoenix Suns: 3 Players Who Just Played Their Last Game with PHX

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Cameron Payne (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Cameron Payne (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Not Returning Next Year: Cameron Payne

Phoenix’s backup point guard Cameron Payne brought his career back from the ashes this season, not only playing himself into a new contract, but likely a lucrative one too expensive for the Suns to take on.

This postseason, he averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 assists while shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc. He also carried the Suns through their first two games during the Western Conference Finals with Chris Paul unable to suit up due to a positive COVID-19 test.

These numbers might not pop out as big-contract worthy figures, but this year’s free-agency class lacks point guard depth with only Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, and Spencer Dinwiddie highlighting the field. For this reason, expect some less talented teams to extend an extravagant deal Payne’s way, and expect him to sign one given his almost permanent exit from the NBA last summer.

Paul’s pending decision whether or not to opt-out from his current contract with the Suns complicates their chances to re-sign Payne as well. Both financially and physically, the Suns cannot chase down Paul and Payne at the same time. Phoenix will surely target Paul as their first priority once free-agency opens up if he indeed opts-out, leaving Payne with others to entertain him.

These two variables just stack the odds too highly against Payne and the Suns reuniting. He certainly owes the Suns a lot though, as they gave him an opportunity to prove his worth when nobody else would. But at this point, he needs to look out for himself, and you cannot blame him for that.