The future of the Kings was far from the only issue on the table at the NBA's Board of Governors meeting this week. USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt rounds up the other issues that owners discussed, including human growth hormone testing for players, the effect of widespread reliance on three-pointers, and the possibility of a joint bid for the 2015 All-Star Game between New York and Brooklyn. Here's more from the Association on the eve of the playoffs:
It seems unlikely Omri Casspi will be back with the Cavaliers next season, given that we've heard he's no longer in the team's plans and could be headed to to play in Israel. There were conflicting reports early this season about whether he had requested a trade, but Casspi tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer that he wouldn't mind a return to Cleveland as a free agent this summer.
"One thing I learned is to not think about the future too much,'' Casspi said. "Take it one day at a time, one game at a time, play hard when you get the opportunity on both ends of the floor. That's what I'm trying to do. Whatever happens happens. I'll be really happy to be back. If not I'll find my way through the league. I'm happy that there's a lot of teams interested. Everything happens for a reason.''
Casspi would become a restricted free agent in the offseason if the Cavs extend a $3.3MM qualifying offer to him, but that probably won't happen, Boyer writes. If it doesn't, Casspi would become an unrestricted free agent. The former first-round draft pick's assertion that "there's a lot of teams interested" seems to conflict with what transpired around the buyout deadline, when the Rockets appeared to be the only team with legitimate interest. Of course, teams will have more flexibility in the summer, so it's possible more clubs could come after Casspi. The Israeli native may also have been referring to interest from overseas teams.
Casspi has seen his playing time and most of his other numbers decline in each season following his rookie campaign. That year, he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game for the Kings, who drafted him 23rd overall in 2009. He's down to 3.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 10.8 MPG this season.
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column that surveys several topics from around the NBA, including info on several buyout candidates. Here are the highlights:
11:59pm: The Rockets' agreement to sign Brooks scuttled Casspi's willingness to accept a buyout from the Cavs, since it took away a likely destination, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links).
7:55pm: The Cavs won't buy out the remainder of Omri Casspi's contract before tonight's playoff-eligibility deadline, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The forward is unpleased with his scant playing time this season, a source tells Lloyd, and his representatives have been engaged in buyout talks with the team.
Bob Finnan of The News-Herald indicated this weekend that Casspi was no longer in the team's plans, and a report from the Israeli website Walla Sport indicated Casspi wanted to wait to have an offer lined up with another team before agreeing to a buyout, just like Raja Bell of the Jazz. That report from Casspi's native Israel pointed to the Grizzlies and Rockets as potential destinations, and ESPN's Marc Stein named the Rockets as a legitimate candidate to sign him if he were released, though Houston might be reluctant to do so now that they're set to sign Aaron Brooks.
Casspi is averaging a career-low 11.4 minutes per game this year, and his numbers have declined virtually across the board in each season since his rookie campaign in 2009/10. That year he put up 10.3 points in 25.1 minutes per game for the Kings, who made him the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft. Casspi's currently making $2.277MM in the final year of his rookie-scale contract, but it's no certainty that the Cavs will tender him the $3.3MM qualifying offer required for the team to match offers for him this summer. Without that qualifying offer, Casspi would become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The Cavaliers have engaged in talks about a possible buyout with Omri Casspi, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein (Twitter link). According to Stein, a deal that would see Casspi part ways with the Cavs is possible before tomorrow's buyout deadline.
We passed along a report from Israeli website Walla Sport earlier this week that suggested Casspi was seeking a buyout from the Cavs, and Bob Finnan of the News-Herald has indicated that the forward is no longer in the team's plans. As is the case with Raja Bell and other buyout candidates, however, Casspi is unlikely to agree to give up any money owed to him by the Cavs unless he knows he has another job lined up. According to Stein (via Twitter), the Rockets are a legit suitor for Casspi, though Houston just filled its 15th roster spot by signing Tim Ohlbrecht, so the club would have to release someone on a guaranteed contract to make room.
Since entering the NBA with the Kings in 2009/10, Casspi has seen his minutes, PPG, and PER decrease in each of his four seasons. The 24-year-old, who is earning $2.28MM this season, is set to hit free agency this summer. If the Cavs hang on to him, they'll have the option to make him a one-year qualifying offer, ensuring that he's a restricted free agent, but the club is more likely to simply let him walk.
Players hoping to change teams before season's end and be eligible for the playoffs have until tomorrow night to negotiate buyouts with their current teams. Any players waived after March 1st won't be postseason-eligible if they sign with another club.
The Israeli website Walla Sport published a report indicating that Omri Casspi would like a buyout from the Cavs within the next few days (translation via HoopsHype), and Bob Finnan of The News-Herald wouldn't be surprised if that takes place. The 6'9" forward is no longer in the team's plans, Finnan writes. Casspi's rookie-scale contract expires at the end of the season, and, as Finnan already reported, he's not expected to re-sign with Cleveland this summer.
There were conflicting reports last month about whether Casspi asked for a trade, though at the time the 24-year-old professed happiness about being in Cleveland. Casspi appeared a likely trade candidate before the deadline, and drew interest from the Spurs this week. The Walla Sport report said Casspi is waiting to have a deal in place, ideally with the Grizzlies or Rockets, before accepting any buyout offer from the Cavs.
Casspi had his appendix removed this weekend, according to the Plain Dealer (Twitter link), a painful sidenote to a season of minimal impact in Cleveland. His points, rebounds, assists and minutes per game, as well as his field goal percentage, have declined each year from his rookie season, when he was a double-figure scorer and started 31 games for the Kings. Sacramento traded the 24th overall pick in the 2009 draft to the Cavs two years ago, and this season Casspi is putting up just 4.0 PPG in 11.4 MPG.
The Cavs can tender a $3,313,480 qualifying offer this summer to retain their right to match offers for Casspi, but it doesn't appear likely they'll do so. Casspi may return to his native Israel play, as Finnan reported a few weeks ago.
Earlier this season, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Omri Casspi had requested a trade. A subsequent report suggested that wasn't the case, but Casspi himself didn't address the subject. Whether or not he asked for a deal, Casspi is a candidate to be moved because of his expiring contract and his limited role in Cleveland.
According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, sources believe that San Antonio would be a good fit for Casspi, and the Spurs have expressed some level of interest in the Israeli swingman. The Spurs aren't willing to offer a whole lot for Casspi, but would be open to including DeJuan Blair, according to Kyler. A Blair/Casspi swap wouldn't work financially though, so San Antonio would need to include more salary to make it a realistic possibility.
Kyler adds that the Cavaliers are also exploring moving Marreese Speights, and could package the two players together if the right opportunity arises. Cleveland remains well under the cap, so the club could take back more salary than it send out in any trade.
Much has been said about this week's three-team swap that sent Rudy Gay to the Raptors, and it's understandably overshadowed the three-for-one deal the Grizzlies and Cavaliers pulled off a couple of weeks ago. Still, the effects of that one persist, and GMs around the league believe it was a steal for the Cavs, reports Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. Finnan has more on the Cavs, and we'll round that up along with other rumors from the Eastern Conference right here:
Bob Finnan of The News-Herald hears that Cavaliers GM Chris Grant could be looking to deal Luke Walton, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi (all expiring contracts), or even Marreese Speights (citing ESPN's Marc Stein) by the February trade deadline. He also shared a few more noteworthy tidbits in his NBA Notes piece:
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has posted his latest Weekend Dime column, which features updates on a variety of trade-related topics from around the NBA. Here are the highlights: