By John Denton
Aug. 21, 2017
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic expect to have a fully symbiotic and sharing relationship between themselves and their G League franchise, the Lakeland Magic, and they have signed their first player to potentially link the two franchises.
The Magic signed free-agent forward Adreian Payne to a two-way contract on Monday – a deal that will allow the 26-year old to potentially play for both the Orlando and Lakeland franchises.
Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to sign two players to two-way contracts in addition to the 15-man regular-season roster. A two-way player for Orlando will spend the bulk of the season with Lakeland, but he can also spend up to 45 days with Orlando, not including any time prior to the start of Lakeland’s training camp and at the conclusion of its season.
The 6-foot-10, 237-pound Payne appeared in 18 games last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game.
Payne also spent time with the Magic’s former G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. The Magic purchased the BayHawks last winter and moved the franchise to Lakeland so that they can have the minor league team closer for better utilization.
Originally selected with the 15th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Payne has played in 102 career NBA regular-season games (with 24 starts) with Atlanta and Minnesota. In those games, he’s averaged 4.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game. He has also spent time with Fort Wayne, Austin and Erie of the NBA G League.
Payne played in 138 games (with 94 starts) during four years at Michigan State University, averaging 8.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.02 blocks in 20.0 minutes per game, while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor. He finished his career as the Spartans’ all-time leader in blocked shots with 141.
Payne helped Michigan State reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in three consecutive seasons (2011-14) and the Elite Eight in 2013-14. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten in both 2012-13 and 2013-14. As a senior at Michigan State (2013-14), Payne played in 31 games (28 starts), averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 28.1 minutes per game. During the second round of the NCAA Tournament, he poured in a career-high 41 points, including 17-of-17 from the free throw line, on Mar. 20 vs. Delaware.
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