Omri Casspi

Omri Casspi Plans To Continue Career In NBA

Having been waived by the Warriors over the weekend to make room on the roster for Quinn Cook, Omri Casspi will officially clear waivers and become a free agent later this week. However, while he isn’t expected to catch on with another NBA team this season, Casspi remains focused on sticking in the NBA next year, per Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

According to Voisin, Casspi intends to spend the next few weeks in his native country of Israel, visiting family in Tel Aviv. Then he’ll return to Los Angeles to continue rehabbing the ankle injury that has sidelined him in recent weeks, and will train in preparation for the 2018 free agency period. While Casspi could technically be scooped up by another NBA team this week, his ankle injury and his lack of eligibility for the playoffs make it far more likely that he’ll return for 2018/19.

“I want to stay in the NBA,” Casspi told Voisin. “I learned so much this year with the Warriors. That’s what makes this so hard. That is an amazing organization, and (Warriors head coach) Steve (Kerr), the way he handles things, the good times and the adversity, is really impressive. He told me he loves what I bring, too, and I could tell it was hard for him to tell me.

“When we met with (Warriors GM) Bob (Myers) last night, Steve kept looking down,” Casspi continued. “I told him, ‘I love you guys. I understand.’ I just feel if I could have ever gotten healthy, I’d be on on the playoff roster. But what are you going to do? This is a hard business sometimes.”

As Marc Stein of The New York Times writes, Casspi chose to sign with the Warriors during the 2017 offseason because he wanted to compete for a championship. That meant turning down interest from the Nets, who would have paid him closer to $5MM rather than the minimum salary he received from the Dubs, says Stein.

Casspi won’t get a chance to compete for a title this season, having become what Kerr referred to as “a victim of circumstance” in Golden State. It will be interesting to see whether the veteran forward prioritizing joining a contending team again during the coming offseason, or if he’ll be more inclined to opt for a bigger offer from a team willing to give him a more significant role.

Warriors Waive Omri Casspi; Quinn Cook Signing Imminent

In a long-anticipated move, the Warriors have waived veteran forward Omri Casspi to create a roster opening for Quinn Cook, writes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News.

Cook, Golden State’s starting point guard with Stephen Curry sidelined by injury, must have his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA contract by Tuesday to be eligible for the postseason. The Warriors have discussed a two-year arrangement that will run through the 2019/20 season, but don’t plan to officially sign Cook until Tuesday, when playoff rosters must be finalized.

The Warriors were facing a deadline of 5pm Eastern today to waive Casspi because he has a guaranteed contract, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN. The deadline allows 48 hours for Casspi to pass through waivers and is set for today because some teams wrap up the season on Tuesday, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Golden State’s front office was hoping to keep Casspi, but decided the team needed all of its centers — Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney and Damian Jones — to provide more flexibility for playoff matchups, adds Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). It’s an unfortunate outcome for Casspi, who bypassed a potentially better deal with the Nets last summer to sign for the veteran’s minimum with the Warriors in hopes of winning a title, Stein adds (Twitter link). Even if another team were to claim him, Casspi wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs because he was on Golden State’s roster past March 1 (Twitter link).

The decision on Casspi was influenced by a sprained right ankle that has kept him out of the past 10 games, Medina notes. A recent MRI showed inflammation in the ankle and he had discomfort when making hard cuts. Casspi appeared in 53 games this season, averaging 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds and shooting .455 from 3-point range.

Warriors Talking To Quinn Cook About Long-Term Deal

The Warriors are negotiating a long-term contract with two-way player Quinn Cook, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN. It would be fully guaranteed for the rest of this season, along with next season, adds Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Cook has to be signed to a regular NBA contract by April 10 to be eligible for the postseason. The move has been expected based on his outstanding play in the wake of two injuries that sidelined Stephen Curry. Cook is averaging 8.9 points in 29 games and shooting ,429 from 3-point range. He is expected to be the team’s starting point guard for the first round of the playoffs while Curry continues to heal.

It’s a breakthrough performance for the 25-year-old, who has struggled to earn a spot in the league since going undrafted out of Duke in 2015. His only previous NBA experience came last season when he played five games for the Mavericks and nine for the Pelicans.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has begun talking about Cook as though he’ll be on the postseason roster, relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link). “This is what we’ve come to expect from Quinn.” Kerr said after Tuesday’s win at Oklahoma City. “He’s probably not going to be a 30-point guy in the playoffs.”

Golden State has a full roster, so a move will have to be made before Cook’s new contract can be finalized. The most likely candidate to be waived is veteran forward Omri Casspi, whose veteran’s minimum contract expires at the end of the season. Casspi is dealing with pain in his right ankle, Haynes tweets, and did not accompany the Warriors on their current road trip.

Warriors Notes: Cook, Casspi, Centers, McCaw

Two-way player Quinn Cook continues to make a strong push for a standard NBA contract, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, the second-year point guard had 28 points in Saturday’s win over the Suns, following up a 25-point performance the night before.

Cook is nearing his 45-day NBA limit, but that won’t be an issue once the G League season ends next week. The Warriors will be able to keep him for the rest of the regular season, but they must convert his contract by April 10 to make him eligible for the playoffs. Cook has a vocal supporter in teammate Draymond Green, who wants to see him on the postseason roster.

“I’ve said all along, I sit here and I watch so many other teams play and I wonder: ‘How is Quinn Cook a two-way player?’” Green said. “Then you have guys in the league who can’t dribble with their left hand or can’t go left, can’t go right. Then you have a guy like that is a two-way player? I’m happy for him, happy he’s showing the world and pray he gets rewarded.”

Slater passes on a few more items about the defending champs:

  • The top candidate to be waived to make room for Cook is veteran forward Omri Casspi, who got some good news after an MRI Saturday. The team announced that his ankle injury is a tweak rather than a sprain and instead of missing a week, he is now day-to-day. Center Damian Jones, who has played in only five games, could also be waived, but he has more than $1.5MM guaranteed for next season and the Warriors are reluctant to create dead money. Slater doesn’t expect a decision until well into April.
  • Zaza Pachulia has replaced JaVale McGee as the starting center over the past three games, but coach Steve Kerr said that move may not be permanent. He plans to wait until some of his star players return before deciding who will start heading into the postseason. “It’s very different depending on who is on the floor around those guys,” Kerr said. “Right now, the game is played in a much smaller radius for us because we don’t have all the shooting. In that smaller radius, we’re more dependent on screens and moving the ball and things that Zaza is good at. I’ve told all the centers that anything can happen, really, that anything can happen. They all have to stay ready based on matchups.”
  • Shooting guard Patrick McCaw may return Monday after missing more than a month with a wrist fracture that he suffered in a G League game. He was putting up disappointing numbers before the injury, but the team is hoping he can be an asset off the bench in the playoffs.

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Green, Suns’ Coach, Carter

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is the latest addition to the Warriors‘ growing disabled list, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Casspi underwent an MRI today after spraining his right ankle Friday. Doctors are still evaluating the results, but initial reports indicate that he will be out of action for about a week.

Medina notes that Casspi’s production and playing time have been inconsistent since signing with Golden State over the summer. He has appeared in 53 games, but is averaging just 14 minutes and 5.7 points per night.

The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for Casspi, whose spot on the Warriors’ roster could be in jeopardy. Golden State may decide to give two-way player Quinn Cook an NBA contract before the playoffs, but first must open a roster spot. With an expiring, minimum-salary deal, the Warriors could get rid of Casspi at minimal cost.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, Draymond Green is taking responsibility for holding the Warriors together, writes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury NewsStephen Curry and Klay Thompson are out until at least next week and Kevin Durant will be sitting until April, leaving Green as a leader in lineups where he is surrounded by role players. “I just try to still play my game and not think I’m going to be Stephen, Kevin or Klay,” he said. “I am who I am and bring to this team what I bring so just continue to play my game. It may mean a few more shots here or there. It’s just not my goal to say, ‘I need to jack up my scoring.’ If it happens, it happens – if not, I’m going to try and lead the guys and play the best that we can.”
  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough says the team will conduct a “wide-ranging” search for its next coach once the season ends, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Interim coach Jay Triano will be included in that process, along with former NBA head coaches, current assistants and maybe some college coaches. McDonough indicated the team plans to talk to several candidates before the list is trimmed to ‘two or three” who will receive second interviews.
  • Vince Carter has become a mentor with the Kings in his 20th NBA season and is offering his younger teammates advice on how to lengthen their careers, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Carter, who has a one-year deal with the Kings, may be on the move again this summer as he searches for more playing time. “I’m not going to sit here and deny that I want to play more,” he said. “Things changed. We aren’t winning and the younger guys need to get better. I get that, but at the same time, I try to make the best of it. That way if it doesn’t work out here, I can still play on another team, maybe a contending team, in a lesser role.”

Injury Updates: Curry, Bell, J. Brown, Collison

After tweaking his right ankle last week, Stephen Curry twisted that same ankle during Thursday’s game against San Antonio. While Curry’s injury doesn’t appear serious, the Warriors will hold him out of their next two games on Friday and Sunday, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“With Steph’s ankle injuries, it’s always a worry,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “Especially … he’s done it so many times where you can kind of tell immediately whether he can get through it or not by his reaction. Just by that reaction that he had tonight, it’s kind of a worry.”

Given how often Curry has tweaked or turned an ankle this season, it makes sense for the Warriors to play it safe with the former MVP. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic points out, the latest incident may also prompt the Dubs to consider adding Quinn Cook to their 15-man roster. Currently, Cook is on a two-way deal that allows him to play for the club during the regular season, but not in the postseason.

In order to make Cook playoff-eligible, the Warriors would have to convert his two-way contract into an NBA deal before the final day of the regular season. Golden State is unlikely to rush that decision, since Cook still has plenty of time left on his 45-day NBA limit, and the team would have to waive a player – possibly Omri Casspi – in order to add the guard to the 15-man roster.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors also avoided a serious ankle injury earlier this week, when Jordan Bell‘s latest sprain was deemed a minor one (video link via Slater). Even though Bell’s ankle injury isn’t considered as serious as the sprain that sidelined him for over a month earlier this season, he won’t be re-evaluated until Tuesday, tweets Melissa Rohlin of The Bay Area News Group.
  • Jaylen Brown suffered a scary fall during Thursday’s game against Minnesota, losing his grip on the rim after a dunk and hitting his head on the court. While the Celtics may initially have been having Gordon Hayward flashbacks, Brown tweeted late on Thursday night that he’s “OK” — with the exception of a headache. While Brown has avoided a worst-case scenario, he’ll continue to undergo tests and be monitored for concussion-like symptoms in the coming days, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes.
  • Darren Collison, who last played on February 3, has a chance to return to the Pacers‘ lineup on Friday night after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, says Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star. “I had a chance to get up and down with the guys the past few days,” Collison said. “A lot of hard work trying to get back in shape. I feel really good about (Friday).” The veteran figures to come off the bench behind Cory Joseph until head coach Nate McMillan is ready to reinsert him into the starting lineup.
  • The Thunder announced today in a press release that rookie Terrance Ferguson suffered a concussion on Thursday night and has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors may be on the precipice of breaking new luxury tax records but that seems like a suitable trade off for their run as one of the most dominant franchises in NBA history.

Sure, they’ll inevitably need to finesse things with their four core superstars but that doesn’t mean the club can’t still make a handful of responsible moves in the summer of 2018 to make their lives slightly simpler when push comes to shove.

The Warriors issued a pile of short-term deals last summer and may be in position to do so again. At the end of the day, retaining flexibility and not overpaying for players that aren’t business critical will be their top priorities.

Omri Casspi, SF, 30 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
Casspi has bounced around the NBA over the course of the past nine seasons, occasionally showing glimpses of solid value as a rotation player but his role with the Warriors may be his most relevant yet. While Casspi’s 16.1 minutes per game are the second least of his career (he played sparingly for the Cavs in 2012/13), he’s shown that he’s a competent bit character in Golden State’s title defense and the organization should look to retain that. Casspi can plug into the Warriors rotation when needed, as evidenced by the 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game he averaged in 14 December games, but his modest resume doesn’t demand consistent time or big-time money. It seems like both parties would benefit from his return on another cheap deal but don’t rule out other contending hopefuls trying to poach him away.

Kevin Durant, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $53MM deal in 2017
After taking a discount so that the Warriors could retain players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Durant will have the chance to turn down his player option and go after a bigger contract now that the team’s other core pieces are in place. Durant is on a short list of players with enough clout to bounce from short-term deal to short-term deal, retaining future flexibility and keeping general managers on their toes but he could also ink a four-year max pact and go about his business. While Durant strikes me as the type of personality that may prefer the latter, he could potentially opt for the former if for no other reason than to give the organization options as they gear up for their forthcoming years-long battle with the repeater tax.

Kevon Looney, C, 22 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2015
The Warriors made the decision to turn down the fourth-year of Looney’s rookie contract because at that point he hadn’t been able to show much value over the course of two injury plagued seasons. Looney has had a bit more of a chance to showcase his skills in 2017/18 but not enough to warrant major free agency interest. The Dubs may be able to bring Looney back on a minimum deal next season if they like the intangibles that he brings outside of game days but there’s no obvious case for it aside from the fact that they’ll need bodies and they know what he brings to the table.

Patrick McCaw, SG, 22 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $1.9MM deal in 2016
The Warriors seem receptive to developing McCaw into a potentially reliable rotation player, as evidenced by their decision to start him six times already this season. To this point in the season, however, he hasn’t exactly flourished when given the opportunity. McCaw’s situation is much like Looney’s. He’ll be a cheap option that they’ve worked with in-house. Given the financial restraints that the front office will be dealing with due to the rest of the roster, they may be happy to retain a 22-year-old that they can at least potentially groom into a reliable rotation player.

JaVale McGee, C, 30 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017JaVale McGee vertical
McGee put forth his most notable season in years when he debuted with the Warriors in 2016/17 but hasn’t replicated that success in 2017/18. Due to matchup issues in the small ball era and the emergence of rookie Jordan Bell, the team just doesn’t need McGee’s energy and length as much as it did in his first year with the team. Considering that the big man isn’t getting any younger, it’s hard to imagine him landing much on the market if all he could manage to yield after last year’s solid campaign was another one-year, minimum contract.

Zaza Pachulia, C, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.5MM deal in 2017
The Warriors have started Pachulia in all 109 of the games that he’s suited up in over the course of his two years with the franchise but this year his time on the court has dropped to its lowest point since 2009/10. Could that be an indication that the club is open to moving on in 2018? The Dubs gave Pachulia, a dinosaur in today’s game, more money than they needed to last summer but now that finances are even tighter, they may not be so generous. Expect Pachulia in a reserve role for the veteran’s minimum, if he’s even back in the Bay Area at all.

David West, C, 37 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2017
West has been an extremely productive role player for the Warriors off the bench in 2017/18, exactly what basketball fans outside of northern California feared when the former All-Star decided to crawl onto the Dubs’ bandwagon in 2016. West has had old-man game since he broke into the league, so regression isn’t exactly an issue. Expect him back playing meaningful minutes with Golden State until he decides to retire.

Nick Young, SG, 33 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.2MM deal in 2017
Young is a potent three-point shooter that slots in well with the rest of Golden State’s rotation but does he provide enough to justify what his $5M+ contract will amount to when the luxury tax bill is calculated? The Warriors may gauge Young’s receptiveness to returning on a cheaper deal in 2018/19. If he isn’t interested, expect him to pound the pavement and eventually land somewhere as a hired gun on a short-term deal. If logic prevails, he’ll be a valuable depth piece with the Warriors for years to come… but that might be a big if.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Martin, Georges-Hunt, Casspi, Leonard

Jarell Martin is the player most likely to be waived by the Grizzlies despite a lack of depth at power forward, according to Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.  The Grizzlies need to pare two players to reach the 15-man limit and Martin is an inconsistent player who’s not really a stretch four or a defensive force, Herrington continues. The final roster decision will likely come down to guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin, since it appears Mario Chalmers has re-emerged as a rotation piece, Herrington notes. Harrison is a useful player at the back end of the roster but it would be difficult to give up on Baldwin, a first-round pick last year, Herrington adds. Memphis will likely explore trades involving those players this weekend to facilitate the decision.

In other developments regarding the Western Conference:

  • Marcus Georges-Hunt‘s ability to guard three or four positions makes him the favorite to nab the 14th spot on the Timberwolves’ roster, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The 6’5” swingman has the edge over rookies Amile Jefferson and Melo Trimble, who will likely be sent to the team’s G League affiliate in Iowa, while another swingman, Anthony Brown, has already signed a two-way contract. However, Minnesota wants to keep the 15th spot open and could also pursue a player that’s waived or bought out as teams make their final roster cuts, Zgoda adds.
  • Omri Casspi has taken a clear lead over Nick Young for a spot in the Warriors’ rotation, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Young got a bigger contract than Casspi when signing with the Warriors this summer but came to camp out of shape while Casspi quickly showed he’s a better fit for coach Steve Kerr’s system, Slater adds.
  • There’s still no apparent timetable for Kawhi Leonard‘s return from a right quad injury, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports. The Spurs All-Star forward has spent the entire preseason rehabbing from an injury he originally suffered last season. “We’ve seen him in the gym and in rehab, but he hasn’t scrimmaged, so it’s hard to tell what stage he is in,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili told Orsborn.

And-Ones: J. Thompson, Franklin, G League

Former Kings big man Jason Thompson has signed a contract with EuroLeague champion Fenerbahce S.K., Orazio Cauchi of Sportando writes. The 31-year-old played in China in 2016/17.

Per international basketball reporter David Pick, Thompson’s deal will be worth $1.8MM over one year with potential bonuses that could bring the total up to $2MM.

After an impressive seven-year stint in Sacramento, including a 2009/10 campaign in which he posted 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a 23-year-old, Thompson quickly fell out of the NBA.

His last professional season stateside in 2015/16 included brief stints with the Warriors and Raptors.

There’s more from around the NBA world:

  • After exploring his NBA options, former Grizzlies point guard Jamaal Franklin has opted to sign a two-year, $4MM deal in China, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.
  • While it’s a given the Warriors did well to retain their championship core, the club also nailed their supplemental signings. Inking Nick Young and Omri Casspi, David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders writes, was one of the best coups of the offseason.
  • As of this season, fringe NBA players offered more than $50K in partial guarantees can not play for that team’s G League affiliate, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days writes. Reichert offers a detailed explanation of how the new contract wrinkle may affect the league in the recent feature article.

Warriors, Omri Casspi Agree To Deal

6:44pm: It’ll be a one-year, minimum salary contract for Casspi, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Casspi’s minimum will be worth about $2.1MM, though it’ll only count against the Warriors’ cap for approximately $1.47MM.

Minimum salary deals can be finalized during the July moratorium, so Golden State doesn’t have to wait until Thursday to make the signing official.

6:23pm: The Warriors have lined up a deal to add another shooter to their roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that free agent forward Omri Casspi has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the team. Sam Amick of USA Today first reported (via Twitter) that Golden State was in talks with Casspi.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

Casspi, 29, opened the 2016/17 season with the Kings, but quickly saw his role in Sacramento’s rotation reduced by new head coach Dave Joerger. Casspi was included in the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, and while the Pelicans were excited to get him as part of that deal, his stint with the team was short-lived, as he suffered a broken thumb in his first game as a Pelican. Casspi was subsequently waived by New Orleans and later finished the season with the Timberwolves after getting healthy.

Although the 2016/17 season didn’t really give him a chance to show off his talents, Casspi enjoyed the best season of his career in 2015/16 with the Kings, averaging 11.8 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 69 games (21 starts), making a career-high 40.9% of his three-pointers. If he can regain that form, he should have a very nice year with a Warriors team that will get him plenty of open looks.

Financial terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Warriors could only offer a minimum salary contract unless they’re willing to dip into their $5.2MM taxpayer mid-level exception for Casspi. A minimum deal seems likely.