Cameron Payne

Cameron Payne To Play In China

Free agent point guard Cameron Payne is signing with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association, a source tells Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Payne, a former first-round pick, has appeared in 153 total regular season contests for the Thunder, Bulls, and Cavaliers since the start of the 2015/16 season, but was unable to secure a regular-season roster spot this fall. He was waived by the Raptors at the end of the preseason, having been beaten out by Malcolm Miller for the team’s final roster spot.

In those 153 career NBA games, Payne has averaged 6.0 PPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 RPG with a subpar .397/.331/.775 shooting line.

As Lupo explains, the 25-year-old will join a Shanxi roster that already features two import players in Jamaal Franklin and Eric Moreland. CBA rules dictate that clubs are permitted to carry up to four foreign players, but only two of them can be on a team’s active roster for a given game.

Raptors Waive Cameron Payne, Devin Robinson

The Raptors have cut a pair of training camp invitees, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, who tweets that the team has placed point guard Cameron Payne and small forward Devin Robinson on waivers.

Payne, who was competing to be Toronto’s third point guard, had a partial guarantee of $150K, so the Raptors will be on the hook for that money, which will count against their cap. Robinson, who appeared to be in the running for a two-way contract, had a non-guaranteed deal.

After waiving Matt Morgan on Friday, the Raptors are now carrying 17 players, including 12 on fully guaranteed contracts. Dewan Hernandez and Chris Boucher appear likely to earn regular-season roster spots, leaving Malcolm Miller and Isaiah Taylor battling for the 15th spot, Murphy tweets. Oshae Brissett‘s contract will likely be converted into a two-way deal.

As Murphy notes (via Twitter), the Raptors’ preference may be to retain Miller, cutting Taylor and then re-signing him to fill the other two-way contract slot after he clears waivers. However, it’s not clear if Taylor would be on board with that plan — or if he’d go unclaimed on waivers.

The Raptors don’t have to make their final decisions today since Miller and Taylor both have partial guarantees. Keeping both players until Monday’s roster deadline won’t result in any extra dead money on the club’s cap.

Raptors Notes: Ujiri, Camp Battles, T. Davis, Lowry

Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri reportedly drew interest from the Wizards this spring when Washington was in the market for a new head of basketball operations, and will likely continue to be targeted by teams making front office changes.

However, speaking to Frank Isola of The Athletic last weekend about his job status, Ujiri made it clear he intends to remain in Toronto at least through the end of his current contract in 2021, if not longer.

“The most important thing is that when you sign a contract you’re obligated to serve it,” Ujiri said. “I signed the contract and I have time left on that contract and I will serve the time. This place has been unbelievable to me. It’s been just a blessing.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Adel, Raptors, Nets Staff

Frank Ntilikina‘s last coach in the French Pro A League told the enigmatic Knicks guard that he must build off his strong showing the FIBA World Cup, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. Vincent Collet knows this could be a make-or-break year for the lottery pick. Ntilikina helped Team France win a bronze medal in the tournament. “I told him he must keep going,” Collet told Vorkunov. “He must take advantage of the World Cup. When you start the camp, you must show them you are not the same Frank anymore.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, acquired the returning player rights to Deng Adel from Raptors 905, according to a team press release. Brooklyn had already signed the small forward to an Exhibit 10 contract. Adel played on a two-way contract with the Cavaliers during the second half of last season, then became a free agent. Long Island also acquired the returning player rights of JaKarr Sampson from the Windy City Bulls in the three-team G league swap. Sampson signed with the Pacers in August.
  • The five players who have partially guaranteed contracts with the Raptors will likely compete for three roster spots, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic details in an examination of the team’s salary cap situation. A dozen players have fully guaranteed deals and will almost assuredly make the squad. That leaves Cameron Payne, Isaiah Taylor, Dewan Hernandez, Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller vying for the remaining spots on the 15-man opening night roster. Hernandez might have the biggest edge because he has the most guaranteed money and the most team-friendly contract long-term, Murphy adds.
  • Former NBA center Tiago Splitter has been promoted by the Nets to player development coach, according to a team press release. Splitter joined the organization after retiring in February 2018. The other staff additions or promotions included J.R. Holden (director of player personnel), Daniel Jones (physical performance coach) and Ryan Forehan-Kelly (player development coordinator).

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Roster, Taylor, Tampering

Several coaches and executives believe Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has a strong case for a maximum extension after his breakthrough season, writes Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Siakam was fighting for playing time in his first two NBA campaigns, but he earned Most Improved Player honors for 2018/19 by posting a 16.9/6.9/3.1 line in 80 games.

“With Toronto in the situation that they’re in, no longer having Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green, Pascal Siakam may be a safe bet for them and they may want to give him a max extension to lock him up,” one Western Conference coach said. “I’ve been impressed with his development; he’s improved into a highly, highly serviceable player who’s very efficient and does a lot for that team. From the outside looking in, it seems like he’ll be able to continue his development too. He seems highly motivated and very grateful to be in the situation he’s in and he doesn’t take anything for granted.”

However, a couple of executives questioned whether Toronto should commit to a full max deal right now, saying it might be wiser to let him play out this season and negotiate with him as a restricted free agent next summer.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • Doug Smith of The Toronto Star takes a look at the battle for roster spots as training camp draws closer. With 12 players holding guaranteed contracts and three with Exhibit 10 deals, Smith expects the competition for the three open slots to be decided among Cameron Payne, Isaiah Taylor, Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher and Dewan Hernandez.
  • The two-year contract that Taylor signed this week contains a $50K guarantee for the first season, but no protection beyond that, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. If he stays on the roster, Taylor will receive $1.62MM for this season and $1.76MM for 2020/21. Marks notes that it’s similar to the deal that Payne received, though Payne’s guarantee was $150K.
  • Columnist Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star calls the NBA’s newly-adopted tougher stance on tampering more of a “nuisance” than a deterrent. He adds that little could be done to punish the Clippers for their aggressive recruitment of Leonard last season because the wealth of owner Steve Ballmer makes a $10MM fine insignificant, and most of the team’s upcoming draft picks already belong to Oklahoma City from the Paul George trade.

Cameron Payne Signs With Raptors

JULY 24: Payne’s deal with Toronto is now official, tweets JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors.

JULY 17: The Raptors have reached an agreement with Cameron Payne, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the free agent point guard is signing a two-year contract with Toronto.

Payne’s new deal won’t be fully guaranteed. According to Charania (via Twitter), the former lottery pick will get a partial guarantee in year one and will have an opportunity to compete for a reserve point guard spot with the Raptors.

Payne, who turns 25 next month, was the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, he has bounced around the league since then, having spent time with the Thunder, Bulls, and Cavaliers in his first four NBA seasons.

In 153 total regular season games, the former Murray State standout has averaged 6.0 PPG and 2.5 APG with a .397/.331/.775 shooting line. He did have a strong Summer League showing in Las Vegas this month though, recording 20.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 2.7 SPG while shooting 51.4% from the floor in three games for Dallas.

Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet figure to handle point guard duties for the Raptors in 2019/20, but after trading Delon Wright at last season’s deadline and not re-signing Jeremy Lin in free agency, the team doesn’t have a ton of depth at the position. That lack of depth – and a partially guaranteed contract – should give Payne the upper hand in earning one of Toronto’s last few roster spots.

And-Ones: Trades, Antetokounmpo, World Cup

Jae Crowder would be a nice contingency plan for the Warriors should they lose Kevin Durant in free agency, Kevin Pelton contends in a piece for ESPN+. Pelton argues a deal that sends Crowder, who has one year left on his contract, to Golden State for Shaun Livingston and a future first-rounder makes sense for both sides.

Other ESPN insiders write about the trade they’d like to see this summer, with Bobby Marks breaking down a Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade that sends Eric Gordon to Philadelphia and Clint Capela to Sacramento. The whole piece is worth checking out.

As we brace for an offseason of change, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for Greece in the Basketball World Cup, according to Demetris Nellas of the Associated Press“Whether I play the 1 [point guard] or the 5 [center], I don’t care,” the NBA MVP said. “I’m a basketball player. I want to help the team any way I can.”
  • The NBA has announced that the Academy Games will be in the United States for the first time in history. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com provides a detailed look at the games in Atlanta, relaying that the camp will feature eight teams and approximately 90 players from around the world.
  • Isaiah Whitehead will play for the Trail Blazers‘ Summer League team, The Athletic’s Michael Scotto relays (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks have announced their Summer League roster and former first-rounder Cameron Payne is among the notable players. Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Giannis, is also playing for the team in Las Vegas.
  • Semaj Christon will play for the Kings‘ Summer League team, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia tweets.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has been invited to join Team USA’s Select Team, which will hold training camp in Las Vegas this summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports passes along (Twitter links). Nets center Jarrett Allen has also been invited.

[In case you missed it: Team USA Announces 20-Player Roster For World Cup]

Raptors Hosting Free Agent Mini-Camp

As the Raptors‘ players and coaches focus on preparing for a potential NBA Finals close-out game in Oakland on Thursday night, the team’s front office will take a closer look at a number of veteran free agents over the next two days in Toronto.

According to a press release, the Raptors will host a free agent mini-camp at its practice facility on Wednesday and Thursday, with 23 players scheduled to attend.

Those players are as follows:

McLemore, Patton, and Payne – all former first-round picks – are perhaps the most well-known players on the list of participants, but they aren’t the only ones with some NBA experience. Artis, Brussino, Costello, Lofton, Thomas, and Weber have each appeared in at least one regular season game as well.

Cavaliers Sign Kobi Simmons To 10-Day Contract

Kobi Simmons has signed a 10-day deal with the Cavaliers, the team announced on its website.

The 21-year-old guard has spent the season with Cleveland’s G League affiliate in Canton after the Cavs waived him in training camp. Simmons averaged 17.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 games for the Charge.

After going undrafted out of Arizona in 2017, Simmons signed a two-way deal with the Grizzlies. He appeared in 32 games for Memphis last season, starting 12, and averaged 6.1 points in about 20 minutes per game. He was released during the summer.

The addition of Simmons ensures that Cameron Payne is done in Cleveland, at least for now. His second 10-day contract expired on Friday.

Cavs Cut Ties With Cameron Payne

The Cavaliers will not offer Cameron Payne a standard contract, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Payne’s second 10-day contract expired on Friday night and the Cavaliers had to either sign him for the remainder of the season or cut ties with the point guard.

Cleveland wanted to maintain roster flexibility heading into the trade deadline, according to Fedor.

“I feel really good about how I played here,” Payne told Fedor. “It’s understandable that they want the roster spot.”

The Cavaliers will likely sign another player to a 10-day contract. Payne played 10 games with the Cavs and averaged 8.2 PPG and 2.6 APG in 19.6 MPG. He played 31 games with the Bulls earlier this season but was waived in early January.