Sonny Weems

Coronavirus Notes: Disney, Face Masks, Weems, China

The NBA has reportedly been exploring the idea of resuming its 2019/20 season in a single “bubble” city in which all teams would compete and all players would temporarily live. While Las Vegas has been frequently cited as the most logical spot for it, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports makes the case that another location would work even better.

As Smith explains, Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida has more than enough hotel rooms to accommodate up to 30 NBA teams, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is capable of housing several, broadcast-ready basketball courts.

Furthermore, Smith notes, the NBA has an existing broadcast with Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN; Walt Disney World is private property, which would be useful in creating the necessary “bubble”; and professional sports have recently been dubbed “essential services” in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis, creating a smoother path to games than the NBA might have in other states.

Here are a few more notes on the coronavirus situation and the NBA’s hiatus:

  • Aaron Portzline of The Athletic spoke to a handful of doctors about the steps that will need to be taken before professional sports can be resumed and before games can once again be played in front of fans. The three doctors who spoke to Portzline agreed that we’re a long ways off from resuming large-scale gatherings, but suggested that tangible progress could be made with widespread testing for COVID-19 and for antibodies.
  • The NBA and WNBA have launched a line of cloth face coverings featuring the logos of all 30 NBA and 12 WNBA teams, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN details. Proceeds from the sales of the apparel, which is available on the leagues’ websites, will benefit hunger relief organizations.
  • Former NBA swingman Sonny Weems, who is currently under contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China, talked to Vivek Jacob of about his experience with the coronavirus pandemic, including traveling back to the United States when the CBA season was suspended and then returning to China when it appeared the league would start back up in the spring. The CBA’s resumption has been postponed until at least July, as Weems remains in China.

MarShon Brooks To Play In China

FEBRUARY 21: Brooks has officially signed with Guangdong, Carchia relays. The team has also finalized its deal with Beasley and has kept Weems under contract, Carchia notes.

FEBRUARY 19: After being released by the Bulls last month, veteran guard MarShon Brooks appears to have lined up his next destination. A source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that Brooks has agreed to a deal with China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Brooks, 30, had an unusual NBA season, having found himself involved of a three-way trade rumor involving the Grizzlies, Wizards, and Suns in December. The three clubs nearly agreed to a deal, but it fell apart when the Suns realized the Grizzlies intended to send them MarShon rather than Dillon Brooks.

Memphis subsequently traded MarShon to the Bulls in a January deal for Justin Holiday, and Chicago waived him a few days later. In 29 games for the Grizzlies this season, Brooks averaged 6.6 PPG on .450/.278/.697 shooting in 13.3 minutes per contest.

Brooks is now poised to join a team that is battling for first place in the Chinese Basketball Association as the postseason approaches. Guangdong was in the news once today already, as the club was said to be finalizing a deal with Michael Beasley as well.

Teams in the CBA are only permitted to carry two international players, and Guangdong also has Sonny Weems under contract. However, Carchia suggests in a follow-up tweet that the club could technically carry three international players if one is inactive. It’s not clear yet what the team’s plan is, assuming both Brooks and Beasley officially sign.

Sonny Weems Signs With Chinese Team

Former NBA player Sonny Weems has signed a deal to play for Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a Sportando report. Weems spent last season with Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League, where he averaged 12.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 3.1 APG.

Weems, 32, was a second-round pick of the Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was immediately traded to the Nuggets and played in 12 games for Denver before he was dealt to the Raptors following a brief detour through Milwaukee. Weems saw his most significant NBA action with Toronto in 2009/10, appearing in 128 games over a two-year stretch, averaging 8.3 PPG and 2.7 RPG.

The Arkansas native then made his way to Europe, where he suited up for teams in Lithuania and Russia. He returned to the NBA for the 2015/16 season with the Suns and Sixers, appearing in 43 games. Weems spent last season in Israel and Turkey.

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.