Sonny Weems

Pacific Notes: Bryant, Weems, Moreland

Jim Buss, Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations, doesn’t regret signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48.5MM extension back in 2013, regardless of how Bryant’s tenure with the franchise ends, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. “You give Kobe Bryant $50MM for two years,” Buss told Amick. “Are you kidding me? What did he bring us? In this day and age, what did he bring us, for 20 years? And if that isn’t what you’re supposed to do, then I have no idea what life is all about. You pay the guy. You believe in the guy. If he ends up [staying healthy], that’s fantastic. Well everybody [in the media] cut me up for that, but I’d say over 200 fans have come up to me and said, ‘Thank you so much for letting my kid see Kobe Bryant for two more years.’ And I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m glad I can see him for two more years.’

Buss also took the time to refute a report by Henry Abbott of ESPN which indicated that the organization was anxious for Bryant to depart so it could begin rebuilding in earnest, Amick adds. “It’s [expletive], that’s exactly what that was,” Buss said when asked about the article. “The organization absolutely loves him. You know why? Because he has made a living, as we [have] with the Lakers for the last 20 years, because of this man. Magic Johnson carried us [to] this part [of their history] … and Kobe Bryant has carried us for 20 years. So every person that works in that organization, why would they hate him? Why would they want him out of there? There’s only a basketball or a Kobe hater that would want that. There’s no other reason.

Here’s more out of the Pacific:

  • Sonny Weems has impressed the Suns‘ coaching staff with his playmaking ability, a part of his game that Weems credits his time playing overseas for developing, writes Matt Petersen of “When I first went over there [Europe], I was just the guy they got to score,” Weems said. “I paid attention over there instead of just going over there to play basketball. I learned a few things watching the European guards over there. It’s kind of a thing I picked up these last two or three years when I was in Russia. It just stuck with me.
  • Power forward Eric Moreland is fighting long odds to secure a regular season roster spot with the Kings, but the level of hustle and energy he has exhibited has impressed coaches and may help him stick with the team, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Coach George Karl indicated Moreland deserves a roster spot on opening night, Jones adds. “It’s going to be difficult to get minutes between Cuz [DeMarcus Cousins], Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein when you want to play forward,” Karl said. “But I think he’s a good insurance policy. I think he and Quincy Acy both will serve as insurance policies and there may be situations where he can get on the court.

Suns Sign Sonny Weems

JULY 17TH, 4:13pm: The signing is official, the Suns announced. “Sonny Weems has been one of the best players outside of the NBA over the past few years,” said GM Neil McDonough. “We’ve seen him dominate high-level competition at both ends of the floor and we think his versatility and experience help solidify our wing rotation.

4:16pm: The second year of the deal is a team option, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reports (Twitter link).

JULY 8TH, 2:50pm: The Suns have agreed to a two-year, $5.8MM deal with Sonny Weems, reports Chris Broussard of (Twitter link). The former Nuggets and Raptors swingman who turns 29 today hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2010/11 season with Toronto. The Suns still have cap room to sign him, but this deal would appear to fit within the room exception.

Weems’ career NBA numbers through 140 contests are 7.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 20.3 minutes per game. His NBA shooting line is .474/.241/.717.

The swingman has spent the last three seasons with the Russian club CSKA Moscow. Weems appeared in 166 games split between the Euroleague and the VTB United League, averaging 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for CSKA.

Pacific Notes: Jordan, Love, Pierce, Cousins

DeAndre Jordan often returns the purchases he makes, friends tell Ramona Shelburne and Tim MacMahon of, who note that he’s on his third agent in seven years. Thus, perhaps the Mavs might have known that Jordan wasn’t quite in the bag until he put pen to paper. They triumphantly celebrated when it seemed Jordan was on his way to Dallas, as Shelburne and MacMahon detail.

“I hear this scream in the backyard and it’s [Mavs owner Mark] Cuban, walking inside with his hands up like, ‘We got him!'” Chandler Parsons said. “It was unbelievable. I was so hyped, because he really is a franchise-changing type player. They don’t come around very often. It was awesome. His mom was crying. I think Cuban might have even cried.”

Parsons called Jordan’s decision soon thereafter to instead return to the Clippers “very unethical and disrespectful,” as the Mavs small forward said to the ESPN scribes. Still, the Jordan saga isn’t the only storyline that’s changed during NBA free agency. A few more are amid the latest from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers reportedly had a meeting planned with Kevin Love before he recommitted to the Cavs, but the purple-and-gold were never under the impression they would get that visit, a Lakers source told Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link).
  • Paul Pierce doesn’t have a team option on the final season of his three-year deal with the Clippers, as originally reported, but he does have a partial guarantee of $1,096,080 on the final season, which is worth a total of $3,679,840, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The deal is the most the Clips could have given him using their taxpayer’s mid-level exception.
  • Wesley Johnson‘s contract with the Clippers covers two years, instead of just one as originally reported, Pincus reports (Twitter link). Both seasons are at the minimum salary, and the second season is a player option, according to Pincus.
  • DeMarcus Cousins expressed his enthusiasm this weekend for playing alongside Rajon Rondo, notes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Cousins reportedly wants a trade to the Lakers, but Rondo has committed to sign with the Kings.
  • The Suns had been eyeing Sonny Weems for more than a year, but Phoenix’s two-year, $5.8MM offer shocked him, and when he jumped on it, he turned down a fully guaranteed two-year, $6MM offer from Barcelona, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic details. The Phoenix deal reportedly includes a team option on year two, but the Suns think he can become the first guard off their bench, Coro writes. The Spurs also had a level of interest in the 29-year-old swingman, according to Coro.

Eastern Notes: Davies, Weems, Rondo

Sixers coach Brett Brown isn’t happy that Brandon Davies was traded to the Nets, Dei Lynam of reports. Brown will miss Davies because of the player-coach relationship the two had, which helped ease the sting of enduring the Sixers’ escalating loss totals, Lynam adds. “When you start losing people that you are very fond of and have tremendous respect for … there is a human side of it that bothers me because you are trying to grow chemistry, you are trying to grow a culture,” Brown said. “That takes a hit when teammates lose teammates. There is a respect, effort-wise, of how they go about their business. There is a reality to our job that is just business in the NBA, but it doesn’t mean it has to feel right.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • Sonny Weems turned down multiple offers from NBA teams this past offseason, including a fully guaranteed deal from the Hawks, as he tells David Pick, writing for Basketball Insiders. Weems instead remains overseas on a long-term deal with CSKA Moscow that will pay him $10MM over the course of the contract, according to Pick. Money, contract length and timing were some of the stumbling blocks that kept Weems out of the NBA, Pick writes, adding that Weems is widely accepted as the best small forward not in the NBA.
  • Rajon Rondo has been receiving his fair share of criticism for the Celtics‘ struggles this season, and he’s been benched late in games recently, but it is something he has downplayed, Chris Forsberg of writes. “I’ve been playing here for nine years, I’m one of the best at what I do, and I’m human,” Rondo said. “I make mistakes. I own up to my mistakes and that’s just part of the game. It’s not weighing on me at all. It’s a team effort. I am the captain, but there are 15 guys on this team and we’re all in this together.”
  • Prior to leaving Washington, current Clippers assistant Sam Cassell played a major role in helping the Wizards land Paul Pierce this past summer, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. “I talked to him [Pierce], told him how well he’ll do with them two guys John Wall and Bradley Beal] and he viewed it and made his decision,” Cassell said. “He took it seriously. He looked at the roster that we had and he realized it was a pretty good roster. He saw where he could fit in and do well at. Why wouldn’t he come and be a part of the Wizards?

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Henry, Wolves, Jazz, Melo

We’ve heard players like Omer Asik and Marcin Gortat mentioned repeatedly as possible trade candidates for the coming season, and both players earn a spot on Sam Smith‘s list of 10 players most likely to be traded at Smith also includes a few surprises among his 10 names though, including a pair of power forwards on Western Conference playoff teams: Zach Randolph and David Lee. I’d be surprised to see either player go anywhere, but as we saw a year ago with James Harden and the Thunder, contending teams aren’t always averse to moving key players.

Here are a few more Monday items out of the West:

  • Asked if Xavier Henry‘s play this fall is solidifying his spot on the regular season roster, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters, including John Ireland and Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), “I would think so.”
  • With CSKA Moscow set to play an exhibition game against the Timberwolves tonight, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities notes that a couple players on the Russian squad – Milos Teodosic and Sonny Weems – could interest the T-Wolves, or have been pursued by the team in the past (Twitter links).
  • Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are both eligible for contract extensions this month, but the Jazz don’t necessarily have to treat them equally, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune. In Kragthorpe’s opinion, Utah should extend Hayward now and wait on Favors.
  • It’s not clear if Fab Melo will earn a roster spot with the Mavericks, but the young center doesn’t sound unhappy to be out of Boston. Melo tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Celtics “didn’t give [him] a chance” last season, “even in practice” (Twitter link).

Odds & Ends: Jazz, Draft, Karl, Ledo, Weems

If the Jazz are going to roll with a third point guard this season, it’ll be either Scott Machado or Lester Hudson, writes Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune.  Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks could conceivably bring the ball up the floor, but it sounds like Utah would prefer to have another cushion at the one-guard position.  “It’s always better to have a third point guard,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “A guy gets hurt, a guy gets sick … If it’s for an extended period of time, having that third point guard gives you a luxury.”  Here’s more from around the Association..

  • Adam Zagoria of spoke with an NBA GM about the 2014 Draft.  The GM feels that even though it’ll be a two-player race between Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, no one will have the fortitude to pick Randle over Wiggins, even if he outperforms him.
  • George Karl says the 2012/13 was the most fun he’s ever had in coaching, so he’d like to return to the bench, even though the former Nuggets boss acknowledges to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe that he may not get another chance. “If that doesn’t happen, I think I can be OK with it,” Karl said. “I’ve had a great career and I think I’m healthy enough and energized enough to go another four or five years, and hopefully someone else out there will think the same thing.
  • Rick Carlisle is high on second-round pick Ricky Ledo, but the Mavs coach hinted that Ledo will probably spend time on assignment to the D-League this year, as Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram passes along.
  • Sonny Weems, who will play in Russia this season, still has his eye on an NBA deal, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Sonny Weems Signs With CSKA Moscow

A pair of players from last year's CSKA Moscow squad have made the jump to the NBA this summer, as Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko both signed deals with the Timberwolves. Sonny Weems, however, is heading in the other direction. CSKA Moscow has officially signed Weems to a three-year deal, the team announced in a press release (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).

Weems, who spent three seasons in the NBA from 2008-11 with the Nuggets and Raptors, also played overseas in 2011/12, signing with Lithiuana's Zalgiris B.C. during the lockout. After averaging 7.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per contest over the course of 140 NBA games, Weems averaged 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game with Zalgiris in Euroleague action.

The Knicks were said to have interest in Weems before signing Ronnie Brewer, and the Celtics also had some interest before adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. Weems was still seeking an NBA contract two weeks ago, but considering the amount of interested teams that decided to go in another directions, I speculated during last week's live chat that the 26-year-old could end up back overseas.

Agent Says Knicks Eyeing Shooting Guards

Jared Zwerling of reports the Knicks have interest in unrestricted free agents Sonny Weems and Maurice Evans, according to Roger Montgomery, the agent for both players. The Knicks are seeking depth at shooting guard with Iman Shumpert out until January and J.R. Smith the only rotation-caliber two-guard on the roster, but have only the veteran's minimum at their disposal, as Zwerling points out.

The Knicks could also be a candidate for Randy Foye if the Clippers consent to a sign-and-trade, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, also identifying the Suns, Bucks and Bulls as Foye suitors (Twitter link). Foye spent most of last season in the starting lineup for the Clippers, averaging 11.0 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds with a 13.5 PER.

The 26-year-old Weems spent last season playing overseas after averaging 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists for the Raptors in 2010/11. Toronto withdrew its qualifying offer to Weems last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. Evans, who'll be 34 when the season starts, spent last season with the Wizards, putting up 4.9 PPG, 1.0 RPG and 0.4 APG in just 14.3 minutes a night.

Evans seems the more likely bet to settle for the minimum salary, as Zwerling notes. A twist to the story is that Montgomery is also the agent for Jeremy Lin, whose offer sheet the Knicks declined to match this week.

Free Agent Rumors: Timberwolves, Rush, Mills

A couple more notable names came off the free agent market this morning, when Kris Humphries landed a two-year deal from the Nets and Grant Hill agreed to sign with the Clippers. While a number of solid rotation players are still available, the market is rapidly thinning for teams in search of starters. As clubs continue to jockey to sign the remaining available players, we'll track many of today's free agent rumors right here:

Earlier updates:


Sonny Weems Becomes Unrestricted Free Agent

3:11pm: Kennedy clarifies (via Twitter) that the Raptors have withdrawn their qualifying offer, but not necessarily renounced their rights to Weems. I'd expect that to be the next step, but either way, Weems is an unrestricted free agent.

2:49pm: The Raptors have withdrawn their qualifying offer and renounced the rights to Sonny Weems, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). The move makes Weems, who was initially a restricted free agent, unrestricted and free to sign with any team.


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