3 former Phoenix Suns who will excel elsewhere in 2023-24.
2. Cam Payne
Not a player many expected to appear here, but the case for Cam Payne to succeed elsewhere next season is actually pretty compelling. His limitations as the only true point guard on the roster once Paul was traded were obvious.
Payne is nothing more than an average floor general who can be targeted defensively and who can only give a contending team so much. Yet despite these obvious drawbacks, Payne was also one of the few players who showed up for the Suns in some playoff games, and there are those who would have preferred the franchise had kept him over adding Bol Bol.
That was never going to happen because of the luxury tax implications and $6.5 million trade exception the Suns opened up by moving him to the San Antonio Spurs, but this new situation can definitely benefit the player as well. Payne is still only 28-years-old, and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
If ever there was a situation to come into with the hopes of looking good and getting paid in the near future, it is the rebuilding Spurs. They just landed Victor Wembanyama in this year’s draft, and he can act as a kind of reverse-Paul here in that he may be so good that he makes average guards like Payne appear better than they truly are.
Even if that doesn’t happen, the Spurs aren’t trying to win and Payne will get some run on this team. It will also be a ton of fun to play with rookie Wembanyama, an experience that he is sure to enjoy as well. Payne has played in big games, and made big shots, so don’t be surprised when in a contract year he puts up 25/12/6 on a Tuesday night in Portland.