NAZ Suns shake up roster, flip Booker, Bennett in pair of trades Thursday

Booker was all-time club assists leader, 3rd in points scored

(NAZ Suns/Courtesy)

(NAZ Suns/Courtesy)

The Northern Arizona Suns made a pair of trades Thursday sending the team’s all-time assist leader Askia Booker to Delaware and flipped former NBA No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to Maine.

Northern Arizona (7-12) received the Delaware 87ers’ first-round pick in 2018 NBA Gatorade League Draft and the returning player rights to Jerrelle Benimon in exchange for Booker.

Suns general manager Louis Lehman said Booker and the team parting ways was a “mutual thing.”

“We talked with ski, and felt there was a better situation in Deleware for him,” Lehman said in a phone interview Thursday night. “We worked with him and his agent and got a deal that we liked and thought was fair.”

Booker leaves the Suns as the all-time leader in minutes played (1,918) and games started (58), and is second in team history in field goals made (339), 3-pointers made (126) and free throws made (163).

He’s third on the list in team scoring all-time with 967 points.

For Bennett, who averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in 14 games for the Suns this season, the club received the returning player rights to Wesley Saunders and a 2018 second-round draft pick, originally from the Windy City Bulls.

Benimon, playing in his third-straight year overseas, is currently with the Ratiopharm Ulm of the German BBL.

At 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, Benimon played in the Chinese Basketball Association in the two seasons prior to joining Ratiopharm.

The 26-year-old former Georgetown standout last played in the G League with the Idaho Stampede in 2014-15, where he was eventually called up by the Utah Jazz after being named an All-Star.

Saunders is currently with the Joensuun Kataja of Finland. After being named the John R. Wooden California High School Player of the Year, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound guard played four years at Harvard, earning Ivy League Player of the Year in 2014.

He played the last two seasons (2015-17) in the G League for the Bulls, Westchester Knicks and Austin Spurs.

Lehman said the club isn’t finished making moves yet, stating the week-long break between games during Christmas gave his staff time put things together.

“Wanted to shake some things up a little bit,” Lehman said.

REED ASSIGNED

The Phoenix Suns announced Thursday they assigned guard Davon Reed to Prescott Valley.

Reed was selected by the Suns with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Miami alum has not played for the Suns in a regular season game after undergoing a meniscus repair of his left knee Aug. 24.

The 22-year-old averaged 14 points and four rebounds per game during Suns’ NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

Northern Arizona begins a season long seven-game road trip tonight when they travel to Sioux Falls. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Suns do not return to Prescott Valley until Saturday, Jan. 20, when they host the Salt Lake City Stars. The G League club plays 15 of their last 24 regular season games at home, including nine of their last 12.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier, the Prescott Valley Tribune and the Chino Valley Review. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsWriter52 or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Email bbergner@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.