The Oklahoma City Thunder are looking for a backup point guard to Russell Westbrook after sophomore Cameron Payne suffered an acute fracture in his right foot this week, per sources.
Veteran point guards Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers are still free agents and could end up signing training camp deals with the Thunder this week.
As of this writing, Ronnie Price, who signed a two-year contract this summer, is expected to back-up Westbrook.
However, Thunder’s front office is aggressively looking to shore up their guard rotation, per reports.
Earlier this week, Cleveland.com reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers had contacted Cole, Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich in the aftermath of Mo Williams’ retirement.
According to The Oklahoman, Payne isn’t expected to return until the second week of November.
“On a six- to eight-week recovery track, Payne’s return to action would come anywhere between Nov. 10 (eight games into the season) and Nov. 24 (16 games in),” wrote Thunder beat writer Erik Horne.
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Payne, entering his second year, was expected to take on a bigger role especially after Thunder let go off D.J. Augustin and Randy Foye this offseason.
Payne impressed as a rookie, averaging 5.0 points and 1.9 assists from just 12.2 minutes per game last season.
Second round pick Semaj Christon, who was previously expected to spend most of the season in the D-League, could end up getting some playing time until Payne’s return.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan realizes that Payne’s injury opens up a lot of possibilities.
“Ronnie, Victor (Oladipo), Semaj (Christon) or whoever it may be back there behind Russell. We’ve got some options and we’ve got camp to look at a lot of those things,” Donovan said on Thursday.
“That’s the only thing that we can do right now to figure out who would back up Russell in that situation. But it was something that we probably were looking at in that situation,” added Donovan during Thunder’s training camp.
The Oklahoma City Thunder begin their preseason on Oct. 3 against EuroLeague club Real Madrid. The match will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.