While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets that the deal was designed for Payton to return to the Mad Ants, Indiana’s NBA G League affiliate. That strongly suggests Payton received an Exhibit 10 contract, which would entitle him to a bonus worth up to $75K if he’s waived before the season starts and spends at least 60 days with the Mad Ants.
A former lottery pick (10th overall in 2014), Payton appeared in 500 regular season games over eight seasons with the Magic, Suns (twice), Pelicans and Knicks. His last NBA stint came back in 2021/22 with Phoenix, when he averaged a career-low 11.0 minutes over 50 games with the Suns.
Last season, Payton had a brief stint playing professionally in Puerto Rico before joining the Mad Ants to finish out the campaign. In 10 regular season games (20.5 minutes) with the Mad Ants, the 29-year-old averaged 7.9 points, 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals, with a subpar .424/.286/.333 shooting line.
Payton reportedly had workouts with the Hornets and Timberwolves this offseason, but was unable to find an NBA contract. Instead, he’ll reportedly be heading back to the Mad Ants to open ’23/24.
The Pacers now have 20 players under contract, including 15 on guaranteed standard deals and all three two-way slots filled.