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Former lottery pick Cameron Payne to play for Mavs in summer league

Cameron Payne, Mavs

Former 14th-overall draft pick Cameron Payne will play for the Dallas Mavericks’ Las Vegas Summer League team, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports.

Payne, 24, last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing two 10-day contracts with the franchise in 2019 before parting with the Cavs at the end of January.

Prior to his time with Cleveland, Payne was the last pick in the “lottery” portion of the 2015 NBA Draft, selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder at 14. Like another recent lottery selection, 2019’s second-overall pick, Ja Morant, Payne is a product of Murray State University, where he competed for the Racers for two seasons, then declaring for the draft.

Payne played in between Thunder and its G League affiliate Oklahoma City Blue until February 2017 when the 6-3 guard was traded to the Chicago Bulls at the deadline in the Taj Gibson deal.

After that, Payne continued a relatively unremarkable NBA tenure until the Bulls waived him this past January.

Payne has averaged 6.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 153 career games, shooting a meager 39.7% from the floor, 33.1% from three-point range, and 77.5% from the free throw line.

It’s not unfounded that Payne could play his way from Las Vegas to the Mavs, however. The Mavs have plenty of cap room and plan on pursuing free agent point guard Kemba Walker, of the Charlotte Hornets, and Patrick Beverley, of the Los Angeles Clippers. Should the Mavs miss out on those two names, and provided Payne performs well in Summer League, the Murray State alum could find his way back in the NBA.

Or, Payne could play well and find himself in the G League again, scrapping for a big league call-up and umpteenth chance in the Association.