Chimezie Metu

Pistons Sign Chimezie Metu For Rest Of Season

10:15am: The Pistons have officially signed Metu to his new contract, according to a team release.

9:26am: The Pistons are signing forward/center Chimezie Metu for the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that Metu’s deal will feature a team option for the 2024/25 season.

Metu recently completed a 10-day contract with Detroit, appearing in six games and making two starts. He averaged 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 26.0 minutes per night.

Metu began the season in Phoenix after signing with the Suns last offseason but was traded at the deadline to the Grizzlies as part of the three-team deal that sent Royce O’Neale to Phoenix. He didn’t appear in a game in Memphis before being waived.

On the season, Metu is averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 43 games (seven starts).

The USC product was selected with the 49th overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Spurs. He played there for two seasons before spending the next three with the Kings.

Metu has averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game over the course of his NBA career, with his best statistical season coming in ’21/22 when he averaged 8.9 PPG and 5.6 RPG while making 20 starts for Sacramento.

Central Notes: Metu, Boeheim, Giannis, Jackson, White

Chimezie Metu, who was signed by the Pistons to a 10-day contract on Wednesday, appeared in their game against Indiana. Two-way guard Buddy Boeheim also made his season debut, becoming the 30th player the Pistons have used this season.

That ties the 2020/21 Rockets for the most players used in one season in league history, Mike Curtis of The Detroit News notes. “It’s definitely different,” Pistons guard Cade Cunningham said. “I just see it as an opportunity to grow as a player, as a leader, as a guard. Making sure we’re organized is a guard’s job, so I find it as an opportunity to get better. When we have all these new guys come in, I try to catch them up to speed to make it easier on them on the court.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Wednesday’s showdown with Boston due to hamstring tightness. Coach Doc Rivers said it wasn’t a tough decision, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. “He’s feeling good, not great,” Rivers said. “Those things are something you don’t take a chance on, especially now, so it wasn’t very hard.”
  • Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson played 28 minutes at Detroit on Wednesday in his home state, one of his longest stints this season. Jackson was grateful to coach Rick Carlisle for giving him the opportunity for extended playing time with friends and family in the stands, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “It means everything,” Jackson said. “I talked to him after the game. It’s something I feel like a lot of coaches don’t really do. I think it just shows the care that Rick has for us, everybody in general not just tonight. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family, too.”
  • Bulls guard Coby White practiced on Wednesday and is expected to play on Thursday against Houston. White said there was a silver lining to his absence, which was due to a hip strain. “It was good for me,” he told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “Obviously, I don’t want to miss games. But since it did happen and I was hurt, I wanted to take advantage of this time I had off and recover mentally, physically, emotionally spiritually. To me, I just tried to turn it into a positive.”

Pistons Sign Chimezie Metu To 10-Day Contract

The Pistons have signed big man Chimezie Metu to a 10-day contract, according to a team press release.

Metu, who will turn 27 on Friday, appeared in 37 games (five starts) for the Suns this season and averaged 5.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 12.1 minutes per contest. He signed with Phoenix last offseason on a one-year, minimum-salary deal after spending the previous three seasons with the Kings.

Phoenix dealt him to the Grizzlies just before the trade deadline and Memphis quickly waived him.

The Pistons have an open roster spot, so they didn’t need to make a corresponding move to create room for Metu, who has appeared in 246 career games (31 starts) for San Antonio, Sacramento and Phoenix. The No. 49 overall pick in the 2018 draft, the sixth-year forward/center holds career averages of 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

Metu will earn a salary of $134,863 over the course of his 10 days with the Pistons, who will take on a cap hit of $116,075.

Grizzlies To Waive Chimezie Metu

The Grizzlies are waiving forward/center Chimezie Metu, whom they acquired from the Suns in the deadline move that also brought Yuta Watanabe back to Memphis, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto (Twitter link).

Metu, 26, averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 37 games (five starts) with the Suns this season. He signed with Phoenix on a one-year, minimum-salary deal after spending the previous three seasons with the Kings. In three seasons in Sacramento, Metu averaged 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 162 games (26 starts).

Memphis will remain on the hook for Metu’s expiring minimum contract unless he’s claimed on waivers. He would be eligible to sign with any team other than the Suns.

Waiving Metu gives the Grizzlies room on the 15-man roster to add a player. GG Jackson II has been impressive all season, and on Thursday he became the youngest player since Kobe Bryant to score 25 or more points off the bench.

If they did convert the 19-year-old Jackson — who is averaging 8.9 points — from his current deal, it would open a two-way slot. Trey Jemison, who has drawn a couple starts, along with Matthew Hurt and Tosan Evbuomwan could be candidates there. All three players recently signed hardship 10-day contracts.

Suns Acquire Royce O’Neale In Three-Way Deal

7:22pm: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Grizzlies, who classified the draft asset they’re getting from the Suns as a “future first-round pick swap.”

Memphis will be able to swap its own 2026 first-round pick for the least favorable of the Suns’, Wizards’, and Magic’s first-rounders that year, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

As previously reported, Brooklyn waived Thaddeus Young and Memphis cut Victor Oladipo to make room on their respective rosters for the incoming players.

4:58pm: The Suns hung onto Boston’s 2028 second-round pick, tweets Gambadoro, which means the three future second-rounders they’re sending Brooklyn are as follows:

  • Either the Pistons’, Bucks,’ or Magic’s 2026 second-round pick (whichever is least favorable).
  • The Grizzlies’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • The Grizzlies’ 2029 second-round pick.

12:18pm: The Nets are finalized a trade to send forward Royce O’Neale to the Suns for matching salaries and three second-round picks, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Phoenix is also acquiring forward David Roddy from the Grizzlies in exchange for a pick swap, Charania adds. (Twitter link).

The Suns are sending out Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe, Jordan Goodwin and Chimezie Metu, John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. They are all on minimum salary deals.

Watanabe and Metu will head to the Grizzlies, while Brooklyn will acquire Bates-Diop and Goodwin, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

O’Neale is in the final year of a four-year, $36MM contract and could enter unrestricted free agency this summer with full Bird rights. He’s making $9.5MM this season.

He’ll be extension eligible with the Suns for a maximum of two-years and $20.5MM, Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype tweets.

Roddy is making $2.72MM this season and already had $4.83MM option for next season picked up by Memphis. Phoenix can use the $4,975,371 traded player exception it generated in the Dario Saric trade with Oklahoma City last season to absorb Roddy’s salary. That exception expires on Friday.

The Suns were considered the top suitor for the Hornets’ Miles Bridges. However, Bridges reportedly told Charlotte’s front office he wouldn’t approve any trade. Phoenix pivoted to O’Neale, who will immediately jump into its rotation.

O’Neale gives Phoenix a playoff-tested, defensive-minded veteran. He has been coming off the bench most of this season but could slot into Phoenix’s star-laden lineup if the Suns want to use Grayson Allen in a sixth-man role.

O’Neale is averaging 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 24.5 minutes per game this season. He’s a career 38.1% 3-point shooter and should get plenty of open looks playing with Phoenix’s stars.

Phoenix will see its luxury tax bill rise by $13.5MM, Gozlan tweets. Overall, the Suns will have a payroll and luxury tax penalty adding up to more than $254.5MM this season, Gozlan notes in another tweet.

By swapping out four players for a pair, Phoenix will also have to add another player to reach the league minimum or 14. That will also increase their tax bill.

Watanabe and Bates-Diop are signed through next year. Metu has an expiring contract and Goodwin’s contract includes a team option for next season.

Suns Notes: Beal, Durant, Booker, Metu

Suns guard Bradley Beal has been progressing well and is ahead of schedule after spraining his ankle earlier in December, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter link). He’s now being listed as questionable for Phoenix’s Friday game against the Hornets and is set to return early in the Suns’ upcoming six-game homestand, Charania tweets.

After being traded from the Wizards to the Suns in the offseason to form a new “big three” alongside Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Beal has been limited to just six games all season. The trio of Durant, Booker and Beal has only appeared in a single full game — Beal was injured early in their second game together.

In his six appearances this year, Beal has averaged 14.7 points and shot 42.9% from beyond the arc.

We have more from the Suns:

  • While Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant was frustrated with the team’s play of late — they’ve dropped seven of their past 10 — Charania downplayed the notion that it was anything out of the ordinary for a struggling team (Twitter link). According to Charania, the Suns and Durant are frustrated, but there isn’t anything deeper going on.
  • During the Suns’ Wednesday victory over the Rockets, Durant and Booker appeared to engage in a fiery exchange of words, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. However, both stars said those honest conversations are part of the growing process for the team. “It was good for us to go through some stuff early in the game to have those heated conversations where we can be like ‘All right, this is what we’re both supposed to do,’ and come back into the locker room and talk it over again,” Durant said. “Sometimes, heated conversations are good for teams because you can be honest and real with one another, and then, you talk it over and move on. We’re all figuring it out. It’s hard with a new team, new group of guys, guys in and out of the lineup. You want to get comfortable with those conversations, and I think we’re on our way there.
  • Suns big man Chimezie Metu had a career game on Christmas Day against the Mavericks, scoring 23 points and pulling down 19 rebounds, both of which were career highs. Metu played a season-high 34 minutes as Jusuf Nurkic missed the contest. “He obviously scored the ball really well, he made some great passes out of the half-roll when they were trapping [Booker and Durant] up top,” Suns guard Grayson Allen said, per Dana Scott of the Arizona Republic. “He was a really good decision maker and he’s a good lob threat in the low, in the dunker, a good finisher down there, and knocking down threes. He was really all over the court.” Metu is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Pacific Notes: Jemison, Metu, Paul

The Suns have filled two of their three two-way slots with guard Saben Lee and, reportedly, center Udoka Azubuike. According to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link), Trey Jemison, who was on Phoenix’s Summer League team, is on the team’s radar for the other two-way slot.

The 7’0” Jemison, 23, played his last three college seasons at UAB and went undrafted. He averaged 8.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game during five Summer League contests.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Signed to a minimum salary contract at the start of free agency, Chimezie Metu will have to force his way into the Suns’ rotation. The best way for Metu to do that would be as a small-ball center. Gerard Bourguet of believes Metu must show he can defend well enough for those lineups to work, and grab defensive rebounds to finish off those stops.
  • ESPN analyst Jay Bilas doesn’t see Chris Paul having any trouble fitting in with the Warriors, even if he comes off the bench for the first time in his career. “You have an opportunity to get a Hall of Fame player in Chris Paul, even though when you look at his body of work, maybe his teams and his personal style has been a little different than the style will be in Golden State,” Bilas told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole. “But it’s a player who is hungry to win. It’s not going to be about him. It’s going to be about the team and doing what it takes for the team to win. I think it’s a great move. And I think he’ll blend in wonderfully.”
  • In case you missed it, we relayed a number of items on the Lakers earlier on Tuesday. Get the details here.

Suns’ James Jones Talks About Rebuilding Roster

In an interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona RepublicSuns president of basketball operations James Jones gives himself an “eight out of 10” for how he was able to construct the team’s roster around its new Big Four. Jones was limited in the moves he could make after trading for Bradley Beal to team with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton, but he found an intriguing mix of veterans and young talent.

Eric Gordon turned down better offers and accepted a veteran’s minimum deal for the chance to win a title. Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, Drew EubanksKeita Bates-Diop and Bol Bol also agreed to sign for the minimum.

“We knew going into it who our four top players were,” Jones said. “The guys who were going to lean on heavily to reach our goals. I think that gave us more clarity and I think it gave the players more clarity around how we would play and how they could fit with our team.

“So when it comes to minimums, I think it’s that label or contract value that people look at, but I look at it more from a perspective of identifying the guys who have the attributes and skills that would complement our group and finding players that believe that this environment will increase their productivity and give them a boost for their careers going forward. This was more forward looking than backwards looking for us and for the players that we targeted.

“I think that clarity allowed us to move quickly and efficiently through the free agency process because we knew exactly who we wanted and we knew exactly who wanted us.”

Jones addresses several other topics in the discussion with Rankin:

On the decisions to re-sign Josh Okogie and trade Cameron Payne to the Spurs:

“Just balancing versatility, and I’m not just talking about from a player skill set and roster construction perspective, but it just gives us options. It gives us options from a roster perspective. It also gives us options going forward. JO is someone who had a tremendous impact on our team last year in a specific role that we think can grow and Cam was someone who had an impact on our team, but he was part of a team that was a different team that played differently. Those two moves allowed us to create balance and gave us some versatility and options to continue to build a more complete team.”

On Bol’s potential after a promising season with Orlando:

“He’s going to get a chance to compete. He fits the profile of the team we’re trying to build. Long, athletic, skilled. Has played some high-level basketball. Has dealt with high expectations and has bounced back from some tough setbacks. The mental grit, the resilience and adaptability that he’s displayed is something that I think will help improve our team and if he can play the way he envisions himself playing, it just gives us another high-level player that we can count on and rely on as we try to march toward a championship.”

On new owner Mat Ishbia’s input during his first offseason with the team:

“He talked about speed, focus and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish and get after it. Don’t second-guess it, don’t overthink it. Trust your instincts, trust your team and then go out there, find the best options for us and then make those options work. For me, it’s clear focus. He’s given me clear direction that allows me to focus on the things I enjoy the most, which is figuring out how to maximize the environment for our players and coaches and get a win.”

Suns Sign Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu

JULY 3: The Suns have officially signed Watanabe and Metu to their minimum-salary contracts, per’s transaction log.

JUNE 30: The Suns are reportedly adding two new free agents to surround their starry core of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton.

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.

Injury Updates: Booker, Paul, Metu, Green, Smith Jr., Ingram

Devin Booker isn’t close to returning from his groin injury, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. The Suns star, who was injured on Christmas Day, has been limited to non-contact drills, according to coach Monty Williams. There’s no firm date for Booker’s re-evaluation.

Suns point guard Chris Paul suited up on Sunday against Memphis after missing seven games due to a sore right hip, Rankin adds.

We have more injury news:

  • Kings forward Chimezie Metu underwent an MRI on his left knee, which showed no structural damage, James Ham of tweets. Metu has a bone bruise and is listed as questionable for Monday’s game against Memphis.
  • Grizzlies shooting guard Danny Green continues to progress from the torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered last May, Michael Wallace of tweets. Green is playing 5-on-5 with no setbacks, but there’s no timetable on his return to action. The veteran wing was traded by Philadelphia in June.
  • Rockets rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. is listed as questionable to play on Monday against Minnesota, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He missed Saturday’s game due to a right ankle sprain. Kevin Porter Jr. will sit out for the seventh straight game due to a foot injury.
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram played 5-0n-5 in practice on Saturday, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. Ingram has been sidelined since Nov. 25 due to a toe contusion.