Elfrid Payton Agrees To Terms On 1 Year Deal With New Orleans Pelicans
Former Louisiana Ragin' Cajun point guard Elfrid Payton agreed to terms on a one-year deal with his hometown New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, according to a source close to the situation. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The contract is worth $2.7 million, according to ESPN reporter Zach Lowe.
Payton, 24, met with Pelicans brass at the team's facility at the start of free agency.
New Orleans still hopes to re-sign veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who was a key member of last season's team that went 48-34 in the regular season and reached the 2nd round of the Western Conference Playoffs.
Payton signed with Louisiana in 2011 out of John Ehret high in Marrero, starting for the Ragin' Cajuns as a 17 year old true freshmen. As a sophomore, he earned 1st team All-Sun Belt Conference honors, then won a gold medal as the starting guard for the Team USA's 2013 FIBA Under-19 team.
Payton helped lead Louisiana to an NCAA Tournament berth as a junior, and was honored as the Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year in college basketball. He also earned 1st Team All-Sun Belt honors again, as well as Sun Belt Defense Player of the Year.
Elfrid has also shown pride for his hometown of New Orleans. He has a fleur-de-bee tattoo on his right shoulder that he got in college, a logo used by the New Orleans Hornets.
Payton was drafted 10th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers (who got the pick from the Pelicans as part of the Jrue Holiday trade) in 2014, who immediately traded his rights to the Orlando Magic.
After 4 plus seasons in Orlando, Payton was traded to the Phoenix Suns last February.
At 6'4, 185 pounds, Payton has displayed a strong ability to penetrate a defense, and is a willing passer. His jumpshot has been a struggle at times, and his defense has been inconsistent in the pros.
He's averaged 11.2 points and 6.4 assists in 300 career games, but has a wide range of tools, as evidenced by his 10 career triple-doubles.