Cameron Payne

Suns Notes: Booker, Payne, CP3, Lee, Washington

Suns guard Devin Booker is expected to return to action as soon as Tuesday against the Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Booker hasn’t played since Christmas Day due to a left groin strain, but was reevaluated on Wednesday and was said by the Suns to be “game-to-game” at that point.

Booker has already been ruled out for Friday’s game in Boston and it sounds like he won’t be back for Saturday’s contest in Detroit, but Wojnarowski suggests the standout guard could return to the court for the third game of Phoenix’s road trip, on Tuesday in Brooklyn. Booker said on Wednesday that he felt like he was “rounding third (base),” as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic tweets.

Unfortunately for the Suns, it will still be a little longer before they get another key backcourt piece back. As Rankin writes, the club announced on Friday that Cameron Payne (right foot sprain) continues to make progress in his recovery but will be out at least one more week before being reevaluated.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Suns have been linked to a handful of point guards in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, including Fred VanVleet and D’Angelo Russell, but that doesn’t mean they’re considering the idea of trading current starter Chris Paul, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe stated on his Lowe Post podcast. “Let me be clear, I don’t think they’re trading Chris Paul,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “I’ve heard nothing about trading Chris Paul. In fact, I’ve heard the opposite.”
  • Discussing the Suns’ decision to cut Duane Washington Jr. in order to bring back Saben Lee on a two-way contract after Lee’s second 10-day deal expired, head coach Monty Williams said that there will some “financial implications” in play, tweets Rankin. Phoenix has an open spot on its 15-man roster, but is well above the luxury tax line — two-way salaries don’t count against the cap or tax.
  • Gerald Bourguet of GoPHNX.com shares five of his takeaways from the Lee/Washington roster swap, exploring why the Suns were willing to let Washington go and considering whether the club’s decision to retain Lee is a reason to be concerned about Payne’s status.

Suns Notes: Ishbia, Ayton, Booker, Payne

With a change in majority ownership of the Suns franchise imminent, Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com offers a 10-step wish list for incoming owner Mat Ishbia. Some of the items on the list includes improving relationships with employees, resolving the Jae Crowder situation with a trade, and committing to a G League franchise.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Deandre Ayton indicated during the morning shootaround on Thursday that he’ll play against Dallas tonight, Bourguet tweets. Ayton, officially listed as probable, has missed the last three games due to an illness.
  • In the latest official update on Devin Booker‘s condition on Wednesday, the Suns said their star guard would be reevaluated in a week. Booker, who is recovering from a left groin strain suffered on Christmas Day, could return to action by the end of the month, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. Gambadoro anticipates Booker will return next week during either the home game against Toronto on Monday or Atlanta on Wednesday.
  • Cameron Payne missed his 10th straight game on Thursday due to a right foot injury. The team said on Tuesday that he’ll be reevaluated in a week and Payne says he’s not quite ready to play, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “It’s been an awkward feeling,” Payne said. “I just don’t really feel that comfortable. Like I can’t be myself. When I’m able to be myself, that’s when I want to get back out there on the court.”

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Payne, George, LeBron

A return to the floor for Suns starting power forward Cameron Johnson appears to be imminent, reports Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Johnson has been sidelined for Phoenix since November 4 with a torn right meniscus that required surgery.

“Just sometime when I get back from the [team’s just-wrapped road trip], but I feel pretty good,” Johnson said when asked about his return timeline. “Taking it one day at a time right now, but I’m looking forward to getting back soon, very soon.”

In his eight healthy games this year, Johnson has averaged 13.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.1 SPG. The Suns have gone 15-21 since Johnson’s injury, though other major absences to Phoenix players have played a role in that record, too.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns reserve point guard Cameron Payne is set to have his right foot sprain reassessed later in January, Rankin notes (Twitter link). “I haven’t started doing anything,” Payne said. “I think [Monday] when I get back into Phoenix, we should be doing our next checkups and check off a few things for me to get back on the court.” Payne has played just twice since December 13.
  • Injured Clippers star forward Paul George has been cleared for full team practices, but head coach Tyronn Lue is unsure of an exact timeline for his return to the floor, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
  • All-Star Lakers forward LeBron James took to social media today to register his discontent about what he sees as inconsistent game officiating. “And all year they keep telling me to my face on the court, ‘I didn’t see it’ or ‘It wasn’t a [foul],'” James tweeted. “It’s not making sense to me seriously! Frustrating as hell man! Anyways keep going Squad!” James seemed particularly upset during L.A.’s two latest losses, to the Mavericks on Thursday and the Sixers Sunday.

Suns’ Cameron Payne Out At Least Two Weeks With Foot Sprain

Suns guard Cameron Payne has been diagnosed with a right foot sprain and will miss at least two weeks, which is when he’ll be reevaluated, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

Payne missed nine games in mid-to-late December with right foot soreness, and then aggravated the injury in just his second game back during Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland. He was sidelined for last night’s loss to Miami as well.

It’s a tough blow for the Suns, who continue to be hit hard by injuries. Payne is an important member of Phoenix’s backcourt, with averages of 12.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 5.3 APG and 0.9 SPG on .412/.378/.776 shooting splits through 28 games (14 starts, 24.0 MPG). The points and assists per game both represent career highs.

The Suns are already without star shooting guard Devin Booker (groin strain) and starting power forward Cameron Johnson (torn meniscus and subsequent surgery).  Johnson has been making progress in his rehab, but he hasn’t participated in contact work yet, per head coach Monty Williams (Twitter link via Bourguet).

Williams also said Chris Paul is considered day-to-day with right hip soreness, and another update will be provided on Sunday. The veteran point guard missed 14 games earlier in the season with right heel soreness.

The Suns have dropped eight of their past nine games, including five straight, to move to 20-20 on the season. Their upcoming schedule over the next two weeks won’t do them any favors — they’re home against Cleveland on Sunday, then go on a four-game road trip against the Warriors, Nuggets, Wolves and Grizzlies, followed by home games against the Nets and Pacers.

With Payne, Booker, and potentially Paul sidelined, look for guards like Landry Shamet, Damion Lee and Duane Washington to get more minutes and shot attempts.

Suns Notes: Payne, Paul, FAs, Bridges, Ayton

Already missing Devin Booker for several weeks, the Suns are finding themselves increasingly shorthanded in the backcourt.

Key reserve Cameron Payne aggravated his right foot injury on Wednesday in his second game back from the ailment and was ruled out for Friday’s contest vs. Miami. Starting point guard Chris Paul was available for that game against the Heat, but didn’t play in the second half due to right hip soreness, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“It’s tough having guys in and out,” Suns wing Torrey Craig said. “Soon as you think you’re about to get guys back, somebody else gets hurt. Guys get re-injured, but it’s part of the game It’s part of adversity, but we’ve just got to figure out a way to get through all this.”

The banged-up Suns – who have also been without starting forward Cameron Johnson (knee surgery) since early November and former starting forward Jae Crowder (away from team) all season – are in the midst of their worst skid of the last few years — after a 16-7 start, they’ve lost 13 of their last 17 games, including the last five in a row. Now at 20-20 on the year, Phoenix has already lost more games than it did all of last season, when the club led the NBA with a 64-18 record.

“If you think about everything we’ve been through, we’re still .500,” Williams said after Friday’s loss, per Rankin. “We just want to win one. Our guys are hurting to win a game and that’s where as a coach, you just feel bad for those guys because you know how hard we’re playing and how bad they want it.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Suns have an open roster spot and could look to the free agent market for help, writes Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic. Although Moore mentions Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Favors as possibilities, the player he’d really like to see the team call is Josh Jackson. Moore argues that the former Suns lottery pick could help bring the team the “fire and intensity” it needs.
  • With Booker and Johnson out and Paul underachieving, there has been more pressure on Mikal Bridges this season to be a two-way force. He has struggled to score as efficiently as he has in the past — his .449 FG% is easily his lowest mark since his rookie year. Gerald Bourguet of GoPHNX.com considers what the Suns and their fans should realistically expect from the fifth-year forward and whether or not he’s meeting those expectations this season.
  • After averaging just 10.3 points per game in his previous three appearances, Deandre Ayton bounced back offensively on Friday with 23 points, though it took him 20 field goal attempts. Before Friday’s contest, Ayton spoke about his role on offense, and Rankin has the highlights in a story for The Arizona Republic.

Injury Notes: Caruso, Warren, Payton, Vassell, Payne

Alex Caruso was ruled out for the remainder of Wednesday’s win over the Nets after suffering a sprained right ankle, the Bulls announced (via Twitter). The veteran guard rolled the ankle when he jumped and landed on Ben Simmons‘ foot, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

As Johnson notes (via Twitter), it’s an unfortunate setback for the defensive stalwart, who recently returned from a three-game absence after dealing with a concussion and shoulder sprain. We’ll have to await further updates to see if Caruso will miss more time with the injury.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Nets forward T.J. Warren suffered a left rib contusion in the same game and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After playing just four games over the previous two seasons, Warren has provided a nice spark off Brooklyn’s bench in 2022/23, averaging 10.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 1.5 APG on .548/.318/.857 shooting through 13 games (20.2 MPG).
  • Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II made his season debut on Monday and the team definitely appreciated his “all-out effort,” writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. “Most teams don’t have a guy like him,” head coach Chauncey Billups said. Unfortunately, the free agent addition was ruled out in advance of Wednesday’s loss to the Wolves, as he’s dealing with a right ankle sprain (Twitter link).
  • Devin Vassell is having a breakout season for the Spurs, but he continues to be hampered by left knee soreness. The third-year guard was out for Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks, with head coach Gregg Popovich referring to his status as day-to-day due to injury management, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).
  • In his just his second game back from right foot soreness, which caused him to miss nine games, Suns guard Cameron Payne aggravated the injury in Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Payne said he tripped when called for a foul on Donovan Mitchell and was ruled out for the second half. Our team just called it. Just told me to wrap it up for the night,” he said.

Pacific Notes: Shamet, Payne, Warriors, Batum, Toscano-Anderson

Phoenix has stumbled amid injuries to key players, but two of them are expected to return for Monday’s game in New York, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne are both listed as probable for the afternoon contest as the Suns try to shake a slump that has dropped them to seventh in the West.

“I feel good,” said Shamet, who has sat out the past three games with a sore right Achilles. “Training staff took care of me as they always do. I feel good. Body feels good.”   

Payne suffered a strained right foot December 13 and has missed nine games. He was posting career highs with 12.7 points and 5.3 assists per game before the injury, and he enables the Suns to play at a faster tempo when he comes off the bench to replace Chris Paul.

“Pace. Getting into the paint,” Payne said when asked how he can help the team. “Like touching the paint. I feel every time we touch the paint, something good happens and I feel like we got away from that. I feel like getting into the paint and bringing my energy.”   

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The news isn’t as good for the Warriors, who will be without four frontcourt players for Monday’s game against the Hawks, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Andrew Wiggins remains sidelined with an illness and will miss his 14th straight game since suffering an adductor strain. Also inactive are Jonathan Kuminga (sprained right foot), James Wiseman (sprained left ankle) and JaMychal Green (lower right leg infection).
  • Nicolas Batum‘s goal of playing all 82 games this season ended when he sat out Saturday with a sprained ankle, but the Clippers forward is proud of his durability at age 34, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Batum credits daily weightlifting sessions, workouts and practices with keeping him in top condition. “If I got some injury stuff, I take care of it,” he said. “I don’t want to miss practice. I haven’t missed practice or shootaround yet this year, so I try to be there as much as possible every time. It’s just the routine I have just to take care of my body to be there for my team.”
  • Lakers players are responding to the challenge LeBron James delivered last week when he said he doesn’t want to “finish my career playing at this level, from a team aspect,” per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. “I actually appreciate the pressure, I like the pressure,” Juan Toscano-Anderson said. “I know what championship basketball looks like, I know what high-level basketball looks like. That’s what they expect. … You gotta step up to the plate. It’s a man’s game.”

Injury Updates: Payne, Shamet, Jovic, Green, Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Middleton, Hill

Suns reserve guards Cameron Payne (right foot strain) and Landry Shamet (sore right Achilles) have seen their statuses updated to probable for Monday’s game against the Knicks, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic reports (Twitter link). Payne has been unavailable since December 13, while Shamet has been sidelined since Christmas Day.

Long-term, Phoenix is still without All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker (groin strain) and power forwards Cameron Johnson (right meniscus surgery) and Jae Crowder. Crowder has been away from the Suns all season while hoping for a trade.

We have more injury-related news:

  • While getting some run with the Heat‘s G League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, rookie Miami power forward Nikola Jovic has been sidelined with back spasms, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • Mavericks shooting guard Josh Green (sprained right elbow) remains shelved for a Monday matchup against the Rockets, the team announced (Twitter link). The elbow was reportedly reassessed on Friday. Dallas also confirmed that Dorian Finney-Smith (right adductor strain), expected to miss at least another week, and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring surgery), out indefinitely, remain unavailable.
  • The Bucks could be missing their three best players on Sunday night as they square off against the Wizards, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic (via Twitter). Khris Middleton (sore right knee) and Jrue Holiday (non-coronavirus illness) will miss the contest against Washington, while All-NBA forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (sore left knee) and reserve point guard George Hill (non-coronavirus illness) are both questionable to play.

Injury Updates: Finney-Smith, Green, Beal, Williamson, Payne

Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith will be out for several more games. He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks, per coach Jason Kidd, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com tweets. Finney-Smith hasn’t played since Dec. 19 due to a groin injury. Guard Josh Green, who has been out since Dec. 9 due to a sprained right elbow, will get an examination on Friday.

We have more injury-related news:

  • On a night when the Wizards finally had a full, healthy roster, star Bradley Beal departed with just over four minutes remaining on Tuesday due to left hamstring soreness, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Beal has been limited to 23 games this season after missing time with thigh and right hamstring injuries.
  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who has missed three games due to a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols, is listed as probable to play on Wednesday against Minnesota, according to a team press release. Herbert Jones, who was also placed in protocols over the weekend, is listed as questionable.
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne, who has not played since Dec. 13 due to a right foot strain, is hopeful of returning during the team’s in-progress six-game road swing, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. “It’d be hard just sitting back and watching, but kind of got to fight through the discomfort,” Payne said. “Just try to get me back to 100%. Just get me back to normal. I think I’m getting close. It’s been a rough two weeks, week and a half, but it’s coming to a close. Just getting close.”

Suns Notes: Crowder, Booker, Okogie, Ishbia

A rival general manager who spoke to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com doesn’t think that Suns forward Jae Crowder has helped himself by sitting out the season as he waits to be traded.

“He just didn’t show up,” the GM said. “He said he’s not playing unless he gets a contract extension that he wants. I think a lot of teams are turned off by that in and of itself. Like, ‘What? You don’t want to play for one of the best teams in the NBA and prove that you’re worth it so you can get a contract next year? Like, you’re not that good, bro. What are you doing?’ It’s a weird dynamic. It’s one thing if Kevin Durant‘s holding out because he’s not getting paid enough, but Jae Crowder? Seriously?

“I just don’t understand this, and I’m not alone. … He just had to play the year and show that he’s a great leader and has a great attitude.”

Crowder has been on the trade block for at least the last three months and the Suns have yet to find a deal they like. That doesn’t surprise Bulpett’s source — the GM suggested that the trade market for the 32-year-old forward hasn’t been particularly hot.

“Phoenix is leaking all sorts of things out there periodically, but I think it’s mostly just to try to stir up some interest,” he said.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Grizzlies may be getting some reinforcements when they visit Phoenix on Friday night, but the Suns will once again be without their leading scorer. Devin Booker has been ruled out for a third consecutive game due to groin soreness, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • Cameron Payne (right foot strain) will also be unavailable on Friday, but one or both of Jock Landale (concussion protocol) and Josh Okogie (right hip soreness) could return. They’re both listed as questionable. Okogie told reporters today that he feels good, but will wait until closer to tip-off to make a final decision (Twitter link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).
  • Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what fans should know about Mat Ishbia, who is poised to assume control of the Suns and become the NBA’s youngest team owner at age 42. Meanwhile, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic observes that simply not being Robert Sarver will work in Ishbia’s favor as he makes a first impression on Suns fans. Even before the investigation into his workplace misconduct and his subsequent suspension, Sarver wasn’t especially popular among fans in Phoenix due in part to his reputation for thriftiness.