TORONTO - In a mildly surprising move, the Raptors announced on Monday they have given swingman Sonny Weems a qualifying offer.
That makes Weems a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted one, and gives the club the option to match any offers to Weems from other teams.
Weems, a throw-in in the Amir Johnson-Carlos Delfino deal two years ago, finished his first season with the Raptors well and got off to a great start last season, averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 37 games — 28 of them starts — prior to the all-star break in 27.2 minutes per game.
Weems also started the year 5-11 from three, but went 12-50 the rest of the way.
Injuries and the arrival of James Johnson limited Weems later on and he finished the year averaging just 7.3 points in 18.1 minutes in his final 22 games, leading to speculation that his time with the club had come to a close.
While that still may be the case (the Raptors can rescind the offer as they did in late July of 2002 with Keon Clark after making him a qualifying offer), the uncertain labour status of the league, the injury to Linas Kleiza, Weems’ cheap price and close relationship with DeMar DeRozan make his return likely.
Weems made $854,389 last season, his second with the team, and the qualifying offer for 2011-12 is for $1,091,100.
Overall, Weems posted career highs in points (9.2), minutes (23.0), assists (1.8), three-point percentage (27.9%) and free throw percentage (76.6%).