Lior Eliyahu

Western Notes: Porzingis, Lakers, Warriors, Eliyahu

Mavericks star forward Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch for Game 4 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. He’s listed as questionable for Tuesday’s pivotal Game 5 and will likely be a game-time decision, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. An MRI revealed no structural damage to Porzingis’ knee.

“Look, a lot of this is going to be hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute type stuff, probably into the later stages of tomorrow,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers’ guard rotation is still in flux, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. J.R. Smith hasn’t shown much while getting playing time the last two playoff games. A longer look at Dion Waiters may be warranted, according to Slater, at least until Rajon Rondo returns. Rondo was supposed to play in Game 3 on Saturday but was a late scratch due to back spasms.
  • The Warriors saved some money by getting the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery rather than the top spot. They’ll save approximately $4MM toward the luxury tax for next season, if the rookie scale remains the same, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
  • The Warriors hold the rights to Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu but he’s retiring, Sportando’s Alessandro Maggi relays. He won several championships overseas during his career and played most recently of Maccabi Ashdod. Eliyahu, 34, was drafted in the second round by Magic in 2006 and his rights were traded numerous times.

Warriors Notes: Giannis, Okongwu, Draft, Eliyahu

Every now and then, over the last year, a report has surfaced detailing the Warriorsinterest in Giannis Antetokounmpo or suggesting that Golden State has been preparing its pursuit of the Bucks star for “years.” However, Anthony Slater of The Athletic is highly skeptical that anything will come of the Warriors’ interest in Giannis, whose current contract with Milwaukee expires in 2021.

As Slater explains, the fact that the Warriors were able to land Kevin Durant in 2016 means they’ll never be ruled out when they pursue other superstars, but in that case, everything lined up perfectly for the franchise — Durant was able to team up with the Warriors’ stars when they were all in their primes and took advantage of a huge cap spike in 2016 to join the team on a max-salary deal.

Several years later, the cap situation for the Warriors and the NBA as a whole isn’t nearly as rosy — Golden State’s cap is loaded with big-money contracts for its stars (and Andrew Wiggins), offering no realistic path to landing Antetokoumpo as a free agent or in a sign-and-trade. The league’s lost revenues also mean that a major dip in the cap is more likely than another spike.

On top of all that, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are in their 30s now, meaning that if he were to become a Warrior, Giannis “would be joining what’d probably become the early stages of a rebuild around him,” Slater writes.

If a star player badly wants to get to a specific team, there’s often a way to make it work, as we saw with last summer with the likes of Anthony Davis and Paul George. But there has been zero indication that Giannis is itching to leave the team with the NBA’s best record for the one in dead last. And even if that’s what he wanted, the roadblocks in the way would be substantial.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • In a mailbag for The San Francisco Chronicle, Connor Letourneau discusses Alen Smailagic‘s development, possible options for the Warriors’ $17MM trade exception, and potential draft targets, among other topics. Interestingly, Letourneau indicates that, when it comes to draft-eligible big men, Golden State is higher on Onyeka Okongwu than James Wiseman.
  • While there has been plenty of speculation about the Warriors potentially trading their 2020 lottery pick for win-now veteran help, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic contends that it might make more sense for the club to move the Timberwolves’ 2021 first-rounder if a major trade opportunity arises.
  • Veteran Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu, who spent the 2019/20 season with Maccabi Ashdod, is considering retirement, per an Israel Hayom report (relayed by Sportando). How is that news relevant to the Warriors? Well, Golden State technically holds Eliyahu’s NBA rights, having acquired them in a trade with Minnesota last July. The No. 44 pick in the 2016 draft never came stateside, but has had a decorated playing career in his home country, winning six Israeli League titles and earning seven All-Star nods.

Warriors Trade Graham, Napier To Timberwolves

JULY 8: The trade is official, with the Warriors receiving the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu in the swap, according to a press release from the team.

Because they had to be used for salary-matching purposes in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade, Graham and Napier both received significant partial guarantees. Graham had about 90% of his $1.65MM salary guaranteed, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North.

JULY 1: Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier, two of the three players the Warriors are acquiring from the Nets in their sign-and-trade deal for D’Angelo Russell, will be re-routed to the Timberwolves, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Minnesota will also receive cash in the deal, Woj notes.

As part of the agreement, Napier and Graham – who are both on non-guaranteed contracts – will receive partial guarantees, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Both players will have their minimum salaries for 2019/20 becomes guaranteed if they’re not waived by July 10, Marks adds (via Twitter).

It’s a cap-conscious move for the Warriors, for whom every dollar will count, since they face a hard cap of $138.9MM for this season. According to Marks (via Twitter), flipping Graham and Napier will save the team about $250K.

There’s a chance that one or both of Napier and Graham could stick in Minnesota for the season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, that’s far from a certainty.

Western Notes: Budinger, Blair, Lakers, Liggins, Eliyahu

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports got T’Wolves fans excited today when he passed along news that Chase Budinger will return to Minnesota and has been cleared to resume basketball activity.  However, the T’Wolves seem to be saying (via Twitter) that he may not start practicing right away.  Here’s this afternoon’s look at the Western Conference..

  • Offseason acquisition DeJuan Blair could earn a regular the Mavericks‘ rotation, writes Tim MacMahon of  When Brandan Wright returns from his right shoulder injury, Dallas will be saddled with a wonderful problem: two talented big men off of the bench who are hungry for playing time.
  • Ten games is enough to start evaluating the Lakers, writes Dave McMenamin of  The Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are 4-6, though offseason pickup Wesley Johnson has been among the team’s bright spots.
  • Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders if DeAndre Liggins will be a candidate for D-League MVP this season.  Schlosser believes that the former Thunder guard could rise up as this season’s Andrew Goudelock.
  • Israeli guard Lior Eliyahu, whose NBA draft rights are owned by the T’Wolves, has signed a three-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.  It’s not clear if the deal includes an NBA out-clause.  Minnesota acquired Eliyahu’s draft rights in the 2012 Chase Budinger trade with Houston.  To keep track of everyone’s whereabouts from around the world, check out the Hoops Rumors International Tracker.

Northwest Rumors: Martin, Thunder, Lopez

The Northwest Division is home to the NBA’s only winless team, the 0-7 Jazz, along with a struggling 1-4 Nuggets outfit. Still, the Thunder are one of a pair of teams in the league with just a single loss, and the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves are off to 4-2 starts. Here’s news on the three Northwest clubs who’ve impressed so far:

  • The Wolves made Kevin Martin a much better financial offer than the Thunder did this summer, but that’s not the only benefit of his decision to sign with Minnesota, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. The Wolves are giving Martin a chance to start and play more than just a complementary role on a team with other marquee players.
  • Martin’s departure seemed to leave the Thunder‘s bench in disrepair, but Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb, fruits of the James Harden deal, have combined with Derek Fisher to outperform three of the team’s starters, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard tell Chris Haynes of they feel more freedom to play aggressively on defense now that offseason trade acquisition Robin Lopez is protecting the rim for the Trail Blazers.
  • Lior Eliyahu is nearing a three-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, according to Roey Gladstone of Israeli Channel 5 TV (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Wolves own the 28-year-old’s NBA rights, but it’s unclear if Eliyahu’s deal would allow him to leave for the NBA before the three years are up.

Odds & Ends: Spurs, Heat, Cavs, Eliyahu, White

For as compelling as the Finals were, it's a shame that we almost certainly won't see the Heat and Spurs clash again next season without at least a few changes to their rosters. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tackles a half dozen key questions for the Spurs amid uncertainty for soon-to-be free agents Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal. In a separate piece, McDonald examines the prospects each Spurs player has of sticking around. I examined the offseason ahead for the Heat earlier today, and Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel follows with a look at what it will cost to keep each player on the Miami roster. The only constant in the NBA is change, and here's the latest on the league's comings and goings:

  • As expected, the Cavaliers met with both Nerlens Noel and Alex Len this week, as Bob Finnan of The News-Herald confirms amongst his league roundup. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, who argues that Otto Porter should get the nod at No. 1, notes that Porter, Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo all worked out for the Cavs in the past few days.
  • The "overwhelming belief" is that the Cavs won't trade the top pick, Lloyd writes.
  • Lior Eliyahu, a former second-round pick whose NBA rights are owned by the Timberwolves, has parted ways with the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sportando's Emiliano Carchia reports with an assist from colleague David Pick. 
  • NBA contracts aren't necessarily guaranteed in case of mental disability, but Royce White's deal with the Rockets is, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link) points out. That means the Rockets wouldn't save any money if they waived him because of his psychological disorders.
  • The Bucks are looking for a shooting guard, and they'll bring in Jamaal Franklin for a workout Monday, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.

Kahn On Roy, Shved, Rubio, Draft, Eliyahu

A day after acquiring Chase Budinger from the Rockets, Minnesota formally introduced the newest Timberwolf in an afternoon press conference. While the T-Wolves gave up their first-round pick and only hold the No. 58 pick in tomorrow night's draft, president of basketball operations David Kahn says the team isn't done making moves, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Here's what Kahn had to say on a few other T-Wolves topics (all Twitter links):

Read more

Timberwolves Acquire Chase Budinger

The Timberwolves have sent the No. 18 pick in the draft to the Rockets in exchange for Chase Budinger, reports Jonathan Givony of (via Twitter). The Rockets also included the rights to Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu in the deal, tweets Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo! Sports.

Read more