Yuta Watanabe, Phoenix Suns agree on new contract

Jun 30, 2023, 4:58 PM | Updated: Jul 4, 2023, 2:28 pm

Yuta Watanabe...

Yuta Watanabe #18 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets react during the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on November 17, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns and athletic free agent wing Yuta Watanabe agreed to terms on a new contract, the team announced Tuesday

The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report the news on Friday.

“The additions of Keita (Bates-Diop), Drew (Eubanks), Chimezie (Metu) and Yuta bolster our depth and each of them will help us in our pursuit of winning a championship,” Suns general manager James Jones said in a press release.

“Each of these players possess unique skillsets that complement the rest of our roster and make us a more dynamic team.”

The 28-year-old lefty from Yokohama, Japan, adds floor spacing and wing defense to Phoenix’s newfound corps of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal.

Watanabe was one of the league’s most efficient three-point shooters last season in a reserve role with the Brooklyn Nets, draining 44.4% of his shots from deep on 2.3 attempts per game. He also hit 55.7% of his two-pointers and finished with a 62.1% effective field-goal percentage.

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 5.6 points per game last year but 16.4 points per 100 possessions.

Watanabe was also teammates with Durant before the Nets traded the latter to Phoenix at the deadline.

The Suns will be Watanabe’s fourth team in five seasons.

He entered the league in 2018-19 on a two-way contract with the Memphis Grizzlies for whom he played 33 games in two years.

His role grew on the Toronto Raptors from 2020-22 and played a career-high 58 games last season in Brooklyn.

The Suns also added wing Keita Bates-Diop and bigs Drew Eubanks and Chimezie Metu in free agency. They brought back wings Damion Lee and Josh Okogie, according to reports.

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