4:20pm: The Spurs have officially waived Payne, the team announced in a press release.
Assuming he goes unclaimed on the waiver wire, San Antonio will be on the hook for Payne’s 2023/24 salary, which is fully guaranteed at $6.5MM. Wojnarowski says there will be a “significant market of contending teams” interesting in signing the veteran guard if he clears waivers.
Phoenix traded Payne to San Antonio a couple months ago in a salary-dump deal. The Spurs picked up a 2025 second-rounder and $5.7MM in cash as part of the trade, while the Suns received a protected 2024 second-rounder.
Payne appeared in 48 games for the Suns last season, averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .415/.368/.766. The 29-year-old will be one of the top players left on the free agent market after a solid run as a backup with Phoenix.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the Spurs are facing a roster crunch — even after waiving Payne, they still have 17 players on guaranteed contracts. That number will need to be trimmed to 15 by the start of the season.
Payne freely admitted last month that he’d rather be in Phoenix than San Antonio. However, league rules forbid Payne from re-signing with the Suns, Marks notes.
With a packed roster and in the midst of a rebuild, Payne clearly wasn’t part of the Spurs’ plans. They now have 19 players under contract, two shy of the offseason limit.