Suns may end up bringing back uninspiring point guard next season

The Phoenix Suns are going to have to sign a point guard this summer, and they may be faced with bringing back an uninspiring player as the solution.
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Five
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Five / Elsa/GettyImages

There is no doubt that the Phoenix Suns need to go out and get an actual point guard for their roster this summer. The failed experiment of having Bradley Beal and Devin Booker split the duties coming apart at the seams in a postseason sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The organization does have the 22nd pick in this year's NBA Draft, and there are sure to be budding floor generals with upside to choose from. But a young and athletic big surely makes more sense as the selection to make when their name is called. Free agency is where the Suns will find a point guard for next season.

Unfortunately for the franchise though - when all is said and done - it could be former player Cameron Payne who is signed as the solution to this problem.

The reason for this is simple, and it is twofold. The Suns are in cap sheet hell right now as a result of having three max contract players, and are severely limited in what moves they can make having gone through the second apron of paying luxury tax. Which means it will be the veteran's minimum that is used to sign not only a point guard, but also several other players to fill out the roster.

This is part of the reason why Isaiah Thomas was on the roster by year's end. He was cheap as a result of initially being signed to a couple of 10-day contracts, but was also unplayable for that same reason when it really mattered. If you're signing a player anybody else could have, there is a limit to how much they can help, even if it was a feel-good story for Thomas.

Back to Payne though, and the Suns signed him to a three-year, $19 million contract back in 2021. That runs out this summer, meaning Payne would be free to sign a minimum deal back in The Valley. As a result of being traded away from the Suns, the San Antonio Spurs paid the remaining $6 million plus on the final year of his contract, while the Milwaukee Bucks signed him to the minimum.

Yet by the end of this season Payne was playing with the Philadelphia 76ers. So for three contenders to cycle through him in the space of a season should tell you all you need to know about the Cam Payne experience. The thoughts of what he could look like suiting up for your team generally different from the reality.

To be fair to Payne, he's both had some nice playoff moments for the Suns, and comes into games with a ton of confidence. Even as the 76ers were going down to the New York Knicks in the opening round of the playoffs, he had a positive impact off the bench in a couple of games. Not on the defensive end, but he's able to pick out a pass and score the ball.

Payne is also somehow still only 29-years-old, yet his career has already taken in stops with the Shanxi Loongs and Texas Legends. Yet there are plenty of Suns fans there who would take him back in a heartbeat, and who may just get their wish this offseason. With the organization being priced out of other options, Payne and the Suns may be left staring at each other once free agency starts.

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In small bursts off the bench he could still probably do a job in The Valley, but the Suns need a floor general who is going to be so much more than that next season. Somebody who can play 25 minutes a night and consistently set the table for his teammates. If Payne becomes that guy, how good can the Suns truly be?

Which is why this would be an uninspired - although potentially in time necessary - choice from the front office. You know what you're getting with Payne, and it's fine. Come the playoffs he tends to raise his game, so having him at the end of the bench for that scenario would be ok. Coming back as the starting point guard at a crucial moment for the Suns? You know in your heart how that will end...