Sonny Weems has decided to sign a contract with Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas rather than wait to see when the NBA lockout ends. The third-year NBA guard averaged a career high 9.2 points and 23.9 minutes with the Toronto Raptors last year, good enough to at least have a qualifying offer extended his way.
Weems can probably expect to play about 70 games between the regular season and the Euroleague, vital experience for a player that is still just 24 and far from established. The guaranteed income of playing overseas is also not an insignificant consideration for a player in his position. Weems' agent, Roger Montgomery, said his client just couldn't afford the risk:
"There's no way I'm going sit by idly and wait for David Stern to decide if he wants to be fair," Montgomery said.
While Weems is not the first NBA player to bolt for Europe, Montgomery said he was the first of this offseason to sign a deal that doesn't allow him to return to the NBA if and when the lockout ends. If the lockout continues much longer, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see more players in Weems' position, follow his lead.