BREAKING NEWS : Toronto Raptors Favorite Announces his Departure from the NBA

Former Toronto Raptors favorite Yuta Watanabe has stated that he would leave the NBA to return to Japan for the following season.
Yuta Watanabe is departing from the NBA.

The former Toronto Raptors forward took to Instagram to announce his decision to refuse his player option and return to Japan for the upcoming season.
Watanabe entered the league in 2018-19 with the Memphis Grizzlies after going undrafted out of George Washington.
He signed with Toronto in 2020 and was surprised to make the roster. That season, he became a rotation player, playing 50 games and averaging 4.4 points in 14.5 minutes per game. He was constantly lauded for his hustle and work ethic, which piqued the interest of Toronto’s coaching staff.

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Watanabe returned to the Raptors the following season, but he was unable to stay healthy. He played in only 38 games, and his decline in three-point shooting caused Toronto to release him at the end of the season.

The 6-foot-9 Japanese native spent the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns before returning to Memphis at the end of last year. He shot 44.4% from three-point range for the Nets in 2022-23 before signing a multi-year contract with the Suns last summer. Phoenix sent Watanabe to Memphis shortly before the February trade deadline.

This past year, he played 34 games, averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds while shooting 35.3% from the field and 29.4% from three.

Watanabe leaves as one of only three Japanese players in the NBA, along with Yuta Tabuse and Rui Hachimura.

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