76ers Stay or Go: Should Philadelphia Bring Back Veteran Guard Cam Payne?

76ers Stay or Go: Should Philadelphia Bring Back Veteran Guard Cam Payne? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Cameron Payne (22) reacts to his three pointer against the New York Knicks during the second quarter of Game 3 of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers’ roster is likely to undergo another revamp during this offseason. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are the only two players locked in to be on the roster at the beginning of the 2024-25 season. The Sixers have decisions to make about the future of 10 players from their 2023-24 roster. They are likely to possess roughly $65 million in salary cap space heading into free agency this summer.

In the seventh installment of the “76ers Stay or Go” series, let’s discuss whether reserve guard Cam Payne should remain with the Sixers.

76ers Stay or Go: Tobias Harris | Buddy Hield | De’Anthony Melton | Kelly Oubre Jr.| Nic Batum | Kyle Lowry

When the Sixers traded fan favorite Pat Beverley and a second-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks, most of the reaction was shock and outrage. Very little attention was paid to Payne, the player they got back in the deal. By the end of the season, opinion on the trade did a complete 360.

Payne provided a spark off the bench, averaging 9.3 points and 3.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game in Philadelphia. He immediately became one of the Sixers’ top outside shooters, connecting on 38.2% of his attempts from 3-point range. The 29-year old also played with a ton of energy, injecting positive vibes throughout the team. Payne’s production exceeded all expectations.

After being out of the rotation in the first two games of the playoffs, Payne stepped up and continued to produce when called upon. He scored 11 points, including knocking down three triples, in 16 minutes off the bench in Game 3. His “energy costs nothing” comment after Game 3 exemplified the attitude Payne brought to the Sixers.

In an offseason filled with uncertainty for the Sixers, it is unclear where Payne fits into the picture. If the Sixers add another star player, they will not have much salary cap space left to fill out the roster. Adequately filling out the roster is going to take hitting on moves along the margins. The Sixers did that last season with players such as Kelly Oubre Jr., Kyle Lowry and Payne.

Payne may be able to get a bit more money on the open market. His combination of outside shooting, playmaking and leadership should be coveted by every team in the league. However, Payne might prefer to stay in Philadelphia where he excelled in his role last season.

The veteran point guard proved he is capable of filling multiple roles, including being a spark plug off the bench. Bringing Payne back might come down to if he is willing to sign for the veteran’s minimum. If the Sixers can snag him for the minimum, bringing him back should be an easy decision to make.

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