New Orleans Pelicans’ Elfrid Payton likely earning a shiny new contract

Elfrid Payton New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Elfrid Payton New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

Elfrid Payton’s historic stretch of games recently for the New Orleans Pelicans is helping him make a case to get a nice raise during the offseason in NBA free agency.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton has been one of the most enigmatic players in the NBA since joining the league in 2014. Drafted 10th overall, Payton was expected to be a long-term option for his first team, the Orlando Magic. Instead, however, the Magic traded him away towards the end his rookie deal, and his new team, the Phoenix Suns, let him enter free agency despite their well documented need at the point guard position.

Elfrid Payton was given a chance by the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason to show he still has a place in the big leagues. It was a one year, $3 million sort of “prove it” deal in which the Pelicans had little to risk by taking a chance on Payton. It’s been a down year in some ways for the 25 year old guard. He’s only been able to play in 33 of the team’s 73 games due to injury. However, there have been several bright spots along the way as well.

In the last handful of games, Elfrid Payton has been amazing by many standards. In fact, he joined an extremely exclusive club recently by posting triple-doubles in five consecutive games.

While no one would really argue that Elfrid is in the same tier of these other players that have posted 5 or more triple-doubles in a row, it’s truly a testament to just how good he’s been when healthy this season when you see his name next to Westbrook, Robertson, Chamberlain, and Jordan.

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Payton’s newfound ability to string together some stellar performances like this has led him to one of his best statistical years ever despite being on the floor for fewer than half of the Pelicans’ games to this point. Elfrid is averaging career highs in assists, rebounds, and 3 point percentage while still scoring a respectable nearly 11 points per game. The 35.5% he’s shooting from range is of particular interest since poor perimeter shooting used to be one of his biggest areas of concern.

While Elfrid Payton might not ever be a hall of famer like the other players to record 5 straight triple-doubles, he’s at least making a case for getting some stability from a team in the form of a multi-year contract at a price higher than his current $3 million the New Orleans Pelicans forked over to sign him last summer.

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We’ll have to wait and see how the Anthony Davis trade saga unfolds before we get any sort of indication on whether or not the New Orleans Pelicans plan to bring back Elfrid Payton next season. Sadly for him, there’s no way of currently knowing what the team’s roster could look like this summer, so it’s unclear where he’d fit in the lineup. Still, even if he ends up elsewhere in 2019-2020, Payton is showing he belongs in the NBA.