NAZ Suns Make Two Trades, Acquire Delaware’s First Round Pick

By Jacob Withee | December 28, 2017

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns made two trades involving four players and four draft picks, the team announced Thursday.

Northern Arizona traded for the Delaware 87ers’ original first round pick in the 2018 NBA G League Draft and the returning player rights to Jerrelle Benimon in exchange for Askia Booker and its own fourth round pick in the same draft.

The Suns also acquired the returning player rights to Wesley Saunders from the Maine Red Claws and their second round pick, originally owned by the Windy City Bulls, in the 2018 NBA G League Draft for Anthony Bennett and Northern Arizona’s own third round pick in the same draft.

The trade with Maine is subject to a physical, but the trade with Delaware is not.

Benimon is currently playing for the Ratiopharm Ulm in the German BBL. Currently playing in the Eurocup, Benimon is averaging 10.6 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game.

Benimon (6-8, 245 pounds) is playing his third straight year overseas. Last year he played with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles after averaging 25.0 points and 11.2 rebounds for the Guangzhou Long-Lions the year before. Both teams are part of the Chinese Basketball Association.

The 26-year-old last played in the NBA G League with the Idaho Stampede in 2014-15, where in his lone year he averaged 19.8 points on 61.4 percent shooting, 11.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 44 games (38 starts). That season he was called up by the Utah Jazz, where he played two regular season games. He grabbed three rebounds in three total minutes playing on a 10-day contract. He would return to the Stampede. That year he was named an All-Star, named to the All D-League First Team, the All-Rookie First Team, and earned a Showcase Honorable Mention.

Benimon has played in the Summer League with the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets following two-year stints at both Georgetown and Towson.

Saunders (6-5, 215 pounds) is currently playing with the Joensuun Kataja of Finland. Playing in 25 games across three leagues, he is averaging 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Previously the John R. Wooden California High School Player of the Year, Saunders played the last two seasons in the NBA G League. Last year he was with the Windy City Bulls, where he averaged 8.5 points on 48.4 percent shooting, 5.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 46 games (10 starts). He played 2015-16 with the Westchester Knicks and Austin Spurs, averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 38 games (four starts) combined between the two teams.

Following a four-year career at Harvard in which he was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2014, the 24-year-old played in the 2015 Summer League with the Utah Jazz before taking part in the New York Knicks’ training camp the same year. He appeared in two preseason games with New York.

Booker leaves the Suns as the all-time team leader in assists (335), minutes played (1,918) and games started (58). He is second in NAZ Suns’ history in field goals made (339), three-pointers made (126) and free throws made (163), and third in team history in scoring (967 points) and games played (61).

Also playing a year with the Bakersfield Jam in 2015-16, Booker is averaging 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 108 total NBA G League games.

Bennett was allocated to Northern Arizona from the Phoenix Suns at the beginning of this year. He averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the NAZ Suns in 14 games (13 starts).

The former No. 1 overall draft pick in the NBA, Bennett tallied two 20+ point games and two double-doubles for Northern Arizona this season.

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