Gretna, La. — Elfrid Payton hosted his third annual kickball tournament in his hometown of Gretna on Saturday, as part of his charity weekend around the city. The Pelicans guard is coming-off his one-year deal with the New Orleans NBA franchise and has some decisions to make in free agency, which officially begins Sunday, June 30 at 5 p.m. CT.
“It’s definitely a business thing but it’s definitely tougher when you have so much family and friends here,” Payton said. “Just things like this [kickball event]. I would hate to leave this. But definitely a business decision and we’ll see how it goes.”
Last season Payton battled injuries, but started in all 42 games he appeared in for the Pelicans. He shot 43.4% from the floor, averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game. Payton also had 10 double-doubles and 6 triple-doubles– the most he’s ever had in a season in his 5 years in the league.
The Pelicans no doubt benefited from Payton’s contributions on the court, but the wild card now is that they’re getting another talented point guard in Lonzo Ball from the Anthony Davis trade, set to go through on July 6th. When asked how that addition would effect his role on the team, Payton had this to say:
“I don’t know,” Payton said. “We’ll talk about it. I’m not somebody that’s afraid of competition. I think it’s something where we can both be on the team. I don’t feel like we can’t co-exist but we haven’t talked about it much yet.”
One thing he does know, is that there’s a mutual desire– from both him and the Pelicans– for him to stay on their roster this coming season.
“There’s definitely a little interest on both sides,” Payton said. Obviously I’ve still got to weigh my options but like I always say man, I’m from Gretna. I’m from this city. So the Pels are always going to be a team I root for. I’ll always root for them”
As for other teams interested in the John Ehret alum, he says he’s got some options if the Pelicans decide not to re-sign him.
“Definitely a few teams but you know I can’t really specify right now,” Payton said. “But I’ll be alright.”
In regards to changing teams and other options, he said he would be willing to come off the bench in the right situation, but knows his worth and knows he’s a starter in this league.