Expendable: Cameron Payne
The Bucks needed a backup point guard and were eager to sign Payne to a one-year minimum contract after he was cut by the Spurs. The 29-year-old helped the Suns reach the NBA Finals in 2021 before losing to Milwaukee. He has been in the playoff wars but has his warts.
His minutes and production are down playing behind Damian Lillard. Payne is averaging 6.6 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per game. He is shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 43.8 percent on his 3-point attempts, but there is plenty to be desired.
Payne has a negative value over replacement player (VORP) so far. The 6’3 guard has always struggled on the defensive end of the floor and his playmaking is down significantly per minute from his time in Phoenix. Milwaukee needs him to make plays and defend if he is going to stick in the postseason rotation.
The Bucks may look for an upgrade before the deadline. San Antonio could not find a team willing to trade even a second-round pick for Cameron Payne, which is why they released him. There will not be much market for the 29-year-old guard, but Milwaukee does not need to trade him to find a rotation replacement before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.