The New York Knicks waived point guard Elfrid Payton this past Thursday, paying him $1 million of his previous contract instead of $8 million on a one-year deal for 2021. They executed this move to reduce his salary implications for the next season, signing him to a new $5 million deal. By doing this, the Knicks actually saved $2 million, money they can allocate elsewhere to bolster the squad.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Payton will return to the Knicks on one year deal and act as their primary point guard once again. After losing out on several big-name options, including Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, the Knicks found it more appropriate to stick with a familiar face and continue building through their youth. It seems as if they are setting themselves up for a big off-season next year and for the future. Failing to invest measure money into a max contract now is a purposeful decision by new general manager Leon Rose.
Elfrid Payton has agreed to one-year, $5M deal with Knicks, agents Aaron Mintz and Ty Sullivan of @CAA_Basketball tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Payton finished the 2019–20 season with 10 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. He hit on .439% of field goals from the floor and .203 from beyond the arch. He is a solid point guard who offers decent play on both ends but is nowhere near superstar status. He’s essentially a supplement until the Knicks feel they can invest in a bigger name down the road.
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