Pacific Notes: Payne, Durant, Queta

Cameron Payne isn’t hiding his feelings about the Suns dealing him to the rebuilding Spurs. Payne admits he’d rather be in Phoenix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays via an Instagram Live post from the point guard.

“Man, I love Phoenix, bro, I miss Phoenix already,” Payne said. “I wish I was in Phoenix still but hey, it is where it is, man. They’re trying to win a chip and I respect it. I feel like they could’ve won a chip with me though ’cause like, I’m tough.”

Payne was dealt, along with the Pelicans’ 2025 second-rounder acquired in a previous deal, to the Spurs for a protected 2024 second-rounder. Phoenix reduced its luxury tax bill by trading Payne’s $6.5MM salary and also acquired a trade exception of the same value.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Due to injury and other factors, Kevin Durant hasn’t played in Golden State since he left the Warriors and signed with the Nets in 2019. As long as he’s not injured coming out of training camp, Durant will finally make his return to the Warriors’ home floor when the Suns open their regular season there on Oct. 24, according to Rankin.
  • The Kings signed Neemias Queta to a two-year, $4.2MM contract, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype (Twitter link). The first year is partially guaranteed and the second season salary is non-guaranteed. Queta, who played with Sacramento on a two-way contract last season, signed a standard contract earlier this week. According to Ricardo Brito Reis (Twitter link), Queta’s $2,019,706 salary for next season includes a $250K guarantee. It’s guaranteed for $500K if he’s on the Opening Day roster and becomes fully guaranteed on Jan. 10. His 2024/25 salary of $2,196,970 becomes guaranteed for $1,098,485 on July 10 and fully guaranteed on Jan. 10, 2025.
  • In case you missed it, the Clippers have guaranteed the final year of Tyronn Lue’s contract. Get the details here.
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