Report: Minnesota Timberwolves ‘kicking the tires’ on Cameron Payne

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With NBA training camps about to open soon, teams are trying to put the final touches on their rosters, and the Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly are “kicking the tires” on point guard Cameron Payne.

“The Wolves are kicking the tires, at least internally, on to me the best free agent point guard available: Cameron Payne,” KSTP-TV’s Darren Wolfson said. “But as of Friday morning, they have not extended him an offer.”

The Timberwolves by virtue of having preseason games scheduled in Abu Dhabi can open their training camp later this month, earlier than other teams. They almost certainly would want to have their roster finalized before taking that trip overseas.

Minnesota also reportedly has had Elfrid Payton and Kennedy Chandler in for workouts but did not offer them contracts either.

Payne played the past four seasons for the Phoenix Suns. He was waived by the San Antonio Spurs this week after being acquired by them in July in a trade that helped the Suns create cap space.

The 29-year-old averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 assists last season, his eighth in the NBA. He debuted with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015-16 campaign and also has played for the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Timberwolves have veteran point guard Mike Conley along with backup Jordan McLaughlin. This offseason, they have re-signed Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Naz Reid and added Troy Brown Jr., Vit Krejci and Shake Milton.

Minnesota’s roster is headlined by swingman Anthony Edwards, who enhanced his reputation as an up-and-coming NBA superstar with a standout performance for Team USA at the recent 2023 FIBA World Cup. Despite a fourth-place finish for the U.S. team, Edwards was among the most dynamic players at the international tournament, averaging a team-high 18.9 points per game.

The 22-year-old, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, also agreed to a five-year contract extension in July that could be worth up to $260 million.

Minnesota last season made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since a streak of eight straight appearances that ended in 2004. It was only its third appearance since then, and the Timberwolves have never won a playoff series other than the two on their way to reaching the 2004 Western Conference Finals.

Payne has won seven of his 12 NBA playoff series and helped the Suns reach the 2021 NBA Finals, so perhaps if he does come on board, he can lend some valuable experience to the Timberwolves.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.