According to the latest NBA rumors, the Milwaukee Bucks are expected to pursue free agent veteran guard Cameron Payne after Wednesday’s blockbuster trade to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.
After adding Lillard, the Bucks might as well sign the Murray State product. In July, the Phoenix Suns traded Payne, $5.6 million cash, and a 2025 second-round draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs for a 2024 second-rounder.
On Sept. 12, the San Antonio Spurs waived the 6-foot-1 guard to open a roster spot. Payne, 29, is reportedly interested in joining a contender that will offer him a larger role.
Following Lillard’s trade, NBA betting sites are listing the Milwaukee Bucks as the No. 1 favorite to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are still showing great odds for the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns.
The Milwaukee Bucks keep expenses neutral by sending out Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen and bringing in Damian Lillard. Tax penalty is still projected at $50 million.
They also opened a roster spot so they could sign a backup point guard, like Cameron Payne.
— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) September 27, 2023
Other teams targeting Cameron Payne include the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Now is the perfect time for Milwaukee to make a move.
Moreover, Payne was selected 14th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Tennessee native has played for OKC (2015-17), the Chicago Bulls (2017-19), Cavaliers (2018-19 season), and the Suns (2019-23).
NBA Rumors: Milwaukee Bucks are aiming to replace Grayson Allen with a backup veteran guard, like Cameron Payne
While with the Suns, the former Cavalier served as a backup point guard to Chris Paul for three seasons. Payne signed a three-year, $19 million contract with the Suns in August 2021.
Additionally, Payne made 12 starts in 58 appearances with Phoenix in the 2021-22 season. He averaged career highs of 10.8 points and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 40.9% from the floor and 33.6% outside the arc.
Last season, the guard made 15 starts in 48 games with the Suns. Payne logged 10.3 points, 2.2 boards, 4.5 assists, and 20.2 minutes per game. Plus, he shot 41.5% from the field and 36.8% from downtown.
I’m begging, Jon, sign Payne.https://t.co/d5NPSGKyiN
— Bucks Film Room (@BucksFilmRoom) September 28, 2023
In Phoenix’s 130-119 win over the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 16, 2022, he recorded a then-career-high 29 points, three rebounds, seven assists, and one block in 34 minutes as a starter. Plus, he shot 9-of-17 (52.9%) from the floor and knocked down six 3-pointers.
During the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the guard posted a career-high 31 points in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets. However, Denver won that matchup 125-100 away to clinch the series.
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