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Sonny Weems

And-Ones: Draft, Zhou, Weems, Yabusele

With trade talks set to heat up next week as the 2016 draft approaches, ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider-only link) decided to create five hypothetical deals that he thinks should happen this offseason. Ford’s proposals include sending Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, Jahlil Okafor to the Pelicans, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle to the Celtics, and Jeff Teague to the Kings. Ford also suggests a mammoth, three-team deal that would involve Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight. While we’ll likely see some major moves go down this summer, that particular proposal is probably a pipe dream.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • With the deadline for international prospects to withdraw from the NBA draft having passed, Chinese big man Zhou Qi has kept his name in the draft, according to Ford (Twitter links). The scribe notes that Zhou’s stock is hard to gauge because some teams believe he’s three or four years older than his listed age of 20.
  • Sonny Weems‘ two-year, $3MM deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv is now official, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Weems played overseas for several seasons before getting another NBA look from the Suns and Sixers in 2015/16.
  • French prospect Guerschon Yabusele has looked very good in his pre-draft workouts, and could play his well into the back of the first round in next week’s draft, writes Jon Rothstein of Within his latest piece for, Rothstein also examines the Ben Simmons/Brandon Ingram debate and Marquese Chriss‘ rising stock.
  • Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders takes a look at Adonis Thomas‘ efforts to get back onto an NBA roster. Thomas, who is participating in several free agent mini-camps, was in training camp with the Pistons last season before a leg injury sidelined him.

Sonny Weems, Quincy Miller To Play In Israel

THURSDAY, 1:19pm: Miller’s deal is a two-year, $2.1MM arrangement that includes an escape clause that would allow him to return to the NBA, a source tells Pick (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 1:51pm: Recent Suns and Sixers swingman Sonny Weems is putting the finishing touches on a two-year guaranteed deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel, reports international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Philadelphia released Weems late last month a few weeks after claiming him off waivers from Phoenix, which signed him this past summer to a two-year deal worth about $5.755MM. The second year on his NBA contract was non-guaranteed.

The Israeli team, poised to lose Dragan Bender to the NBA draft, has also reached agreement with three-year NBA veteran Quincy Miller, Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi reports. The club had been a heavy favorite to land Miller, as Pick reported earlier this week (Twitter link). The Nets waived Miller in October, but he quickly latched on with Serbian team Red Star Belgrade.

Weems, 29, is headed back overseas after what appears to have been a brief return to the NBA. He started 29 games for the Raptors in 2010/11 but spent the next four seasons playing for Zalgiris in Lithuania and later CSKA Moscow. He put up 2.5 points in 11.7 minutes per game for the Suns this season, failing to secure a more significant role even amid a rash of injuries. The Sixers reportedly intended to take a hard look at him even though they acquired him chiefly to eclipse the minimum team salary, but his playing time in Philadelphia was almost identical to what it was in Phoenix as he averaged 2.4 points in 11.1 minutes.

Miller is only 23 and less than four years removed from having been the No. 38 pick in the 2012 draft, but he’s made it into only 69 NBA games, 10 of which came last season, when he split time between the Kings and Pistons. Detroit traded him to Brooklyn last summer for Steve Blake.

Sixers Sign Christian Wood To 10-Day, Waive Weems

The Sixers signed Christian Wood to a 10-day contract and waived Sonny Weems, the team announced via press release. Wood had been playing for the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers’ D-League affiliate.

In a move made to lift the Sixers’ salary earlier this month, the team claimed Weems off waivers from the Suns and released Wood from his previous 10-day contract. That was the second time this season that Philadelphia relinquished Wood, who hit waivers in January when the team decided to sign Elton Brand.
Wood has appeared in 32 games in the D-League this season, averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. Wood, who went undrafted in 2015, signed with the Sixers on September 14th. He has appeared in 14 career NBA games with Philadelphia, averaging 4 points and 2 rebounds per contest.

And-Ones: Weems, Mirotic, Augustin

The Sixers acquired swingman Sonny Weems to reach the salary floor but they plan to take a hard look at him, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Sixers claimed Weems from the Suns on Monday, allowing them to reach the minimum team salary requirement for the season since they’ll get credit for his full $2.814MM salary, even though they’ll only have to pay less than $700K, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out (Twitter link). The Sixers made similar moves to reach the floor last season, including a claim of power forward Thomas Robinson, whom they did not re-sign, Pompey notes. Weems may be a different case. Robert Covington, Nik Stauskas and Hollis Thompson are the only true wing players on the roster, and thus Weems should get some opportunities to play, Pompey adds. A league source conceded to Pompey that it looks unseemly for the Sixers to work the system to meet the salary floor two years in a row but argued that the team has a legitimate need for a wing player that Weems can fulfill.

In other news around the league:

  • Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic has to prove he’s part of their future, now that he’s returned from an appendectomy, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. He endured major growing pains during his second season with the team prior to the injury and he now has to work his way back into shape and be productive, Cowley continues. “You can’t play scared that if you get hit, something may happen, or you’ll have a setback,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told Cowley and other members of the Chicago media. “You just have to go out there and react and play. I think it was big step for Niko. Now it’s a matter of getting his lungs in shape and getting his wind back.’
  • Point guard D.J. Augustin has revived his career with the Nuggets, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Augustin averaged 12.8 points and shot 54.3% on 3-point attempts in his first nine games with Denver after he was acquired in a trade deadline deal from the Thunder. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has averaged 16.4 turnovers, fourth-most in the league, since the trade, Horne notes.
  • The Warriors recalled power forward Kevon Looney from their D-League affiliate, as the Santa Cruz Warriors tweet.
  • The Thunder assigned forwards Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary to their D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team’s website. Huestis has already appeared in 16 D-League games this season, while McGary has played 17 games with the Blue.

Sixers Claim Sonny Weems, Release Christian Wood

5:06pm: The moves have taken place, the Sixers announced via press release.

3:40pm: Philly is claiming Weems to have a look at him, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, suggesting that the team plans to keep him around, at least for a while.

2:31pm: The Sixers plan to claim Sonny Weems off waivers from the Suns today and release Christian Wood from his 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The move appears to be geared toward lifting Philadelphia’s team salary, currently at about $60.4MM, to the league minimum of $63MM. Weems makes $2.814MM, which would push the Sixers over the salary floor by about $200K. However, Weems is only due a few more paychecks that will total about $660K, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). So, even though Weems’ full salary would hit Philly’s cap, the Sixers would only pay him a fraction of that amount. Philadelphia would have had to shell out the difference between its team salary and the salary floor to the players on its roster if it hadn’t made up the gap by the last day of the regular season.

A claim would help the Suns, too, since it would save them from having to pay the remaining $660K obligation to Weems and erase his entire salary from their cap. Phoenix would be just barely above the cap if Philly indeed comes away with the swingman.

Wood signed a 10-day contract just this past Friday, but the Sixers will owe him the full $30,888 value of the deal regardless of whether he remains on the roster. He would immediately become a free agent once the Sixers release him, since 10-day contracts don’t go on waivers. This would be the second time this season that Philadelphia has relinquished Wood, who hit waivers in January when the team decided to sign Elton Brand.

It’s unclear whether the Sixers intend to keep Weems, since they’ve often quickly waived players after taking on their salaries in the past. His contract includes a non-guaranteed salary of nearly $2.941MM for next season, so his contract could help serve as ballast for offseason trades even if the Sixers don’t envision a future with him. The 29-year-old was in and out of the Phoenix rotation this season, averaging 11.7 minutes per game in his return to the NBA after four years playing overseas. In any case, it’s no surprise to see Philadelphia in line to claim him, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors speculated this weekend that such a move would take place.

Suns Waive Sonny Weems

4:50pm: Weems has officially been waived, the team announced.

3:36pm: The Suns intend to waive shooting guard Sonny Weems, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter). The Suns currently have a roster count of 14 players, including Phil Pressey, who inked his second 10-day deal with the team last Tuesday. This means the team still had an open roster spot, so the move to release Weems wasn’t a necessity unless the Phoenix is eyeing multiple players for potential deals, though that is merely my speculation.

The 29-year-old will hit waivers and it would require $2.814MM of cap space or a trade exception of that amount or greater to claim him, Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports tweets. The shooting guard is owed approximately $660,000 for the remainder of the season, a number the Suns will be on the hook for if Weems goes unclaimed. The Sixers still need to reach the minimum salary floor of $63MM, so I would speculate they remain an outside possibility to make a claim on Weems.

Weems appeared in 36 games this season for the Suns and averaged 2.5 points and 1.1 assists in 11.7 minutes per outing. His slash line is .393/.406/.538.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Morris, Weems

Thanks to the rash of backcourt injuries that have plagued the Suns this season, Sonny Weems is finally getting his opportunity to play, and the shooting guard hopes to demonstrate how valuable he can be to the team, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “I think I can do a lot more,” Weems said. “I think I’m a more complete player than most think I am. It’s still a long season. I still have got time to show the complete game that I have.”

Weems noted that he still tries to speak regularly with his former CSKA Moscow coach, Ettore Messina, who is an assistant with the Spurs, but he runs into trouble doing so, Coro adds. “I’m stuck here for the next two years and he’s there so we can’t talk about anything,” said Weems, whose deal includes a team option for next season. The guard did note that he appreciates the opportunity Phoenix has given him but he wants a more substantial role, Coro relays. “I actually like Phoenix,” Weems said. “You really can’t complain when you see the sun shine every day and it’s 70 degrees. I really like it. As far as playing time, I wish I had more playing time. Of course, every NBA player wishes he could play a lot more. I understand the business. I’m just waiting my turn. When it comes, I’m going to be ready. I love Phoenix.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers notes that power forward Blake Griffin, who is expected to miss up to two months after breaking his right hand in an altercation with the team’s equipment manager, is genuinely remorseful for the incident, Kevin Arnovitz of relays. “He feels awful about it, and he’s let everyone know that,” Rivers said. “That’s all you can do. You have to forgive people at some point. I believe that. We built Richard Nixon a library. I mean, my goodness. You forgive people. You really do. You kind of move on, and you build it back.” Rivers also noted that the franchise will defer to the league in regard to any discipline meted out, Arnovitz adds. “Both parties will get together,” Rivers said. “Usually the league leads on that stuff.
  • It’s still a matter of when, not if, the Suns will trade Markieff Morris, executives from around the league tell Marc Stein of, but Phoenix is holding tight in search of better offers with his market value trending relatively low, according to Stein.
  • The Clippers sent $456,921 to the Rockets as part of the Josh Smith trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (on Twitter).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Rumors: Bledsoe, Karl, Clippers

The loss of Eric Bledsoe to a season-ending knee injury has forced Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to make several adjustments to his rotation, Greg Esposito of the team’s website reports. Brandon Knight has taken over the role as the main floor leader with Ronnie Price and Bryce Cotton backing him up. Rookie Devin Booker gets the nod at shooting guard, with Sonny Weems and Archie Goodwin in reserve, Hornacek told Esposito. The Suns nearly upset the Cavaliers on Monday and Hornacek felt his new backcourt played reasonably well in Bledsoe’s absence. “Without Eric in the game, it was a little different,” Hornacek told Esposito. “We had gone over a few plays that might be good for the guys. I thought they really came out and executed it. Defensively, we gave up a lot of 3-point attempts that we need to get better at. Some of it was closing out that we need to get better at.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach George Karl has found it difficult to connect with his players and is frustrated by their lack of consistency, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Karl can no longer be as fiery as he once was because of the way current players react, so he has tried to appeal to them in other ways, Jones continues. “Just tell stories,” Karl told Jones. “You try to bring up situations. My explanation the last couple of weeks is just trying to explain to them how difficult this league is, how tough it is to be successful in this league.”
  • The Clippers used a three-guard alignment against the Wizards on Monday and coach Doc Rivers liked the results, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Rivers played reserves Jamal Crawford, Pablo Priogioni and Austin Rivers during the first half and the Clippers extended their lead. His son’s versatility allows the three-guard set to work, according to the coach. “The reason we get away with it is because Austin can guard the one, two or the three,” Doc Rivers told the assembled media. “We just put him on them and then we put Pablo on the second-best guy and put Jamal on the third guy. And so it works for us.”
  • Chris Paul is impressed how the Clippers are playing without Blake Griffin, according to Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. The Clippers won their first two games after Griffin suffered a partially torn quad tendon. “I just think we’re fighting,” he told Morales. “We know we’re a big man short and so everyone knows that they have to be involved in the game.”

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.

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