JULY 3: The Suns have officially signed Watanabe and Metu to their minimum-salary contracts, per NBA.com’s transaction log.
Sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that sharpshooting ex-Nets small forward Yuta Watanabe has reached an agreement to join the Suns. Meanwhile, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter) that former Kings big man Chimezie Metu is also signing a one-year deal with the team.
Exact terms of these new contracts have yet to be revealed. Presumably, both these deals would be for veteran’s minimums, due to Phoenix’s current spending restrictions.
Watanabe, a 6’9″ swingman out of George Washington, gives Phoenix some lethal long range versatility on the wing following a breakout season in Brooklyn, most of which was spent playing alongside fellow ex-Net Durant. The 28-year-old averaged 5.6 PPG on a .491/.444/.723 slash line, along with 2.4 RPG, in his 58 contests with Brooklyn.
Metu, a 6’9″ power forward/center out of USC, had spent all five of his prior NBA seasons with Sacramento. In 2022/23 under new head coach Mike Brown, he saw his numbers and role take a bit of a dip while the club improved to a 48-34 record and its first playoff berth since 2006. Across 66 contests, Metu averaged 4.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 10.4 MPG. He will for now serve as a key frontcourt backup.