Phoenix Suns Sign Lightning-Rod Point Guard From Knicks

Elfrid Payton, new Suns guard

Media Elfrid Payton, new Suns guard

The Phoenix Suns, coming off their first NBA Finals appearance in 28 years, were never expected to make a major overhaul of the roster. But they’ve been quietly filling out the corners of the roster with some veteran additions, and are slated to make another addition on Tuesday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Phoenix will sign veteran point guard Elfrid Payton to a one-year deal.

This will mark Payton’s second go-round with the Suns, having spent 19 games with the team in 2018, a move that amounted to a salary dump for the Orlando Magic. At the time, the Suns were in the midst of what seemed like an endless game of point-guard roulette. Payton was not the winner there, obviously, despite decent numbers (11.8 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds). He signed a deal with the Pelicans the next season.

More recently, Payton was a lightning-rod point guard for the Knicks, averaging 10.1 points and only 3.2 assists for New York last season, making only 43.2% of his shots. He started the Knicks’ first two playoff games but scored just one point and was benched for the last three games.

Suns Will Have Three Quality Point Guards

Of course, with the Suns, Payton will have a much-reduced role that should allow him to contribute without having to do too much.

The Suns opened free agency with the four-year, $120 million contract for Chris Paul, securing their point guard stability for the foreseeable future. They bolstered that signing by bringing back Cam Payne on a very reasonable four-year deal worth $19 million.

Payton is likely to take on the role filled last year by defensive-minded point man Jevon Carter, the third-stringer who was sent to Brooklyn in a draft-day deal with a first-round pick, for shooting guard Landry Shamet. Carter played 60 games, averaging 12.0 minutes per game.

Payton can expect more minutes than that, though, and could even find himself with the occasional starting role. That is because Paul, at age 36 and having played into July, is expected to be granted more than a few nights off to keep himself fresh.

There also could be situations in which Suns guard Devin Booker gets some nights off. Not only did Booker play into July for the Finals, but he went to Japan immediately after for the Olympics, helping Team USA to a gold medal. Payton and Shamet can help with that.

Chris Paul Had Wrist Surgery This Summer

There is always concern about injuries with Paul, especially at his age.

Paul did undergo a wrist surgery in the offseason, it was revealed this week. It was a minor procedure on his wrist that should not keep him out of training camp. Addressing the injury on ESPN from Summer League, general manager James Jones did not sound particularly concerned about the surgery.

“Sometimes, father time, you can’t heal, you go and clean it up,” Jones said during a broadcast interview, via “For Chris, it was something minor. He’ll be ready in a couple of weeks to get back out on the court with these guys as we start to try to get back after this short offseason.”

Training camp is slated to begin at the end of September, giving Paul plenty of time to get healthy before the start of the 2021-22 season.



Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x