Elfrid Payton is headed back home....No, not to Orlando.
The former Magic point guard, a native of Louisiana, has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Woj.
Elfrid Payton has agreed to a deal with the Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
The Magic traded Payton to the Phoenix Suns just before the trade deadline in February. After flourishing initially with the Suns, the issues that Orlando had with Payton began to surface in Phoenix: his lack of shooting and defense.
In 19 games with the Suns, Payton averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 29.0 rebounds per game. The numbers, as they did in Orlando, appear impressive enough on the surface. But they conceal Payton’s flaws, which aren’t always evident in the box score, such as his refusal to fight through a screen and inability to spread the floor. For those reasons, and others, the Suns opted not to re-sign the 24-year-old point guard and he became a free agent.
Payton played at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for three years before being drafted with the 10th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Sixers, who traded him to the Magic. In his four-year NBA career, Payton has averaged 11.2 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and just 29.8 percent from three on 1.2 attempts per game.
With the Magic in need of a point guard, there was some social media discussion that Payton returning to Orlando could actually be a low-cost possibility, much to the chagrin of many Magic fans. Payton will indeed have a homecoming, but it will be in New Orleans, where he will compete for minutes behind Jrue Holiday and possibly Rajon Rondo, if the Pelicans re-sign him.
The Pelicans remain hopeful of re-signing point guard Rajon Rondo, league sources say, even after coming to terms tonight with free-agent guard Elfrid Payton— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2018