If the timing of Yuta Watanabe's contract announcement seemed a little strange to you, it's probably because you don't live in Japan.
Usually when NBA news breaks it's the middle of the night in Japan. It creates a strange dynamic between the NBA and Japanese basketball fans who are usually fast asleep when news breaks during the day in Toronto. So the savvy PR people who run the Raptors reportedly decided to wait to announce Watanabe's new contract in order to make sure it broke at a reasonable hour for Japanese fans, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported.
The early morning Eastern Time news was broke at 8:30 p.m. in Japan and created a lot of excitement for Japanese NBA fans and Raptors fans alike. Japanese NBA broadcaster and former Japanese basketball player Chris Sasaki shared some of that excitement on Twitter.
Watanabe is just the third Japanese-born NBA player to play in the NBA and one of just two Japanese players currently in the league.
His deal will reportedly include a fully non-guaranteed contract for next season worth $375,000 that becomes guaranteed just three days after the summer moratorium, according to The Athletic's Blake Murphy.