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Report: Former Net Yuta Watanabe to play in Japan after NBA retirement

The Brooklyn Nets have seen plenty of players come and go over the course of the past few seasons as the franchise has tried to find its way. One of the fan favorites of the Nets fanbase during the big 3 era is trying to find his way as well and appears to be going outside of the NBA to do so.

Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com reported on Monday that former Net Yuta Watanabe is expected to go back to his native Japan to continue his professional basketball career. Per Urbonas, Watanabe would be making “one of the biggest moves in Japanese basketball league history” if he does end up joining the Chiba Jets.

Watanabe, 29, came into the NBA as an undrafted free-agent after not being selected in the 2018 NBA Draft despite a productive career at George Washington University. He spent his first two seasons in the league playing for the Memphis Grizzlies before playing the following two seasons for the Toronto Raptors.

In August of 2022, Watanabe signed a one-year, minimum contract with the Nets to serve as depth while the team was trying to win a championship with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the way. To that point, Watanabe played well in his role as he led the NBA in three-point shooting well into November of the 2022-23 season before finishing the season with his best performance from behind the three-point line (44.4%).

Watanabe left Brooklyn to play for the Phoenix Suns during the 2023-24 season after signing a two-year, $5 million deal for a Suns team looking for players willing to take the minimum to help them with their own title aspirations. Phoenix traded Watanabe to the Grizzlies at the trade deadline and went on to play in just five games for Memphis before announcing his intention to retire from the NBA to look for more playing opportunities in Japan.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire