The Oklahoma City Thunder announced they have exercised their third-year team options on guard Cameron Payne and forward Josh Huestis for next season. Neither player has appeared in a game yet this season, with Huestis not having come off the bench, and Payne recovering from a second foot injury he suffered in late September.
Backing up point guard Russell Westbrook is not an envious position to be in when it comes to upward mobility, but the Thunder’s first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft fills just that slot. After being named the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 2014 in his first year on campus at Murray State, Payne would come back the next season and win OVC Player of the Year in 2015, prompting him to declare for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season when he averaged 20.2 points per game.
In his rookie year, Payne played in 57 games for the Thunder (making one start), averaging just over 12 minutes per game and 5.0 points per contest. He would spend a few weeks in the D-League, but would also appear in 10 Playoff games for Oklahoma City last year.
Forward Josh Huestis also had his option picked up. The team’s first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of Stanford, Huestis has played only five NBA games, all of which came last season for the Thunder. He wouldn’t officially make his NBA debut until March, and less than a month later, made his Playoff debut in Game 1 of the team’s opening round series against the Dallas Mavericks.