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With backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova nursing a sore foot, the Cavaliers are in need of someone to help handle the ball.
But that’s not the only reason they signed Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract Sunday.
This is a season for auditions and Payne is just the latest. The Cavs plan to continue bringing in younger players on a trial basis for the rest of the season.
And hey, why not?
The Cavs believe Payne is a young point guard with some talent.
First, Dellavedova is indeed questionable for Tuesday’s home game vs. the Indiana Pacers. He has already missed the previous two. So Payne fills a need.
Also, point guard Collin Sexton has been playing major minutes lately. It’s rare anymore for him to not play at least 30. That’s asking a lot of a rookie who just turned 20-years old on Friday.
In order to make room for Payne, the Cavs waived shooting guard Patrick McCaw after a week. From a business standpoint, it made sense.
The Cavs signed McCaw to a two-year contract believed to be worth $6 million on Dec. 28. That contract was set to become guaranteed for the rest of the season until Monday.
Some have questioned the Cavs’ decision to waive McCaw. He only appeared in three games all season after holding out for a new contract with the Golden State Warriors.
After the Cavs signed McCaw, they had to wait two days to see if the Warriors would match. The Warriors never did. McCaw played a total of 18 minutes before being released.
It likely came down to the fact the Cavs have an abundance of wings on the roster already — as well as them finding that ball-handling was a more pressing need.
Payne is a former lottery pick, drafted No. 14 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015. He spent a season and a half with OKC before being traded to the Bulls in February 2017.
Foot surgery and G-League assignments limited him to just 25 appearances with the Bulls last season. He still averaged career-highs of 8.8 points and 4.5 assists.
In 31 games this year, Payne averaged 5.7 points. He scored a career-high 21 in late October vs. the Charlotte Hornets, with all 21 coming in the second half.
The Cavs (8-32) have lost nine straight, including five straight at home by at least 20 points.