Omri Casspi

International Notes: Morris, Melli, Delgado

Former Lakers and Nets guard Darius Morris was in camp with the Pelicans last fall and generated some in-season interest from the Suns, but 2018/19 represented his fourth straight season out of the NBA. It appears that streak will continue in 2019/20, as a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that Morris has signed a “lucrative” contract with Enisey Krasnoyarsk in Russia.

Morris, who appeared in 132 total NBA games after being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, is still just 28 years old, as so an eventual NBA comeback is possible. For now though, he’ll continue his professional career in Russia after spending his last few seasons in China and the G League.

Here are a few more basketball odds and ends from around the globe:

  • Nicolo Melli, who signed with the Pelicans this summer as a free agent, won’t play for Team Italy in the 2019 World Cup due to a knee injury, the Italian Basketball Federation confirmed today in a press release. As far as we know, Melli is still expected to be ready to go for training camp with New Orleans this fall.
  • Former Clippers big man Angel Delgado, who signed a lucrative one-year contract with the Beijing Royal Fighters, spoke to Jerry Carino of Asbury Park Press about making the move to the Chinese Basketball Association. “I had opportunities to stay in the NBA, but I’m doing what’s best for me,” Delgado said. “I’m excited about the experience I’m going to get in the CBA, and the people I’m going to get in touch with out there. I’m really excited and really motivated to give everyone a show every night. I want to give them what they want — a championship.”
  • Previously-reported international deals for Alan Williams (in Russia) and Omri Casspi (in Israel) are now official, with Lokomotiv Kuban and Maccabi Tel Aviv formally announcing the signings today.

Omri Casspi To Play In Israel

Veteran forward Omri Casspi has reached an agreement with Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. In addition to a three-year, $3.4MM contract, Casspi will be given a managing role in the organization when he retires.

Casspi, 31, likely saw his NBA career end when the Grizzlies released him in February to make room on the roster for a series of trades. He appeared in 36 games for Memphis, averaging 6.3 PPG in about 14 minutes per night.

Casspi was a first-round pick in the 2009 draft, going to the Kings with the 23rd selection. He spent time with seven teams during a 10-year NBA career.

And-Ones: Casspi, Sampson, Expansion, Armstrong

Veteran forward Omri Casspi has overseas options if he doesn’t get an NBA offer in free agency. Two prominent teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Olimpia Milano, are interested in signing Casspi, according to Davide Chinellato of La Gazzetta dello Sport (hat tip to Sportando). Casspi came off the bench in 36 games last season with the Grizzlies, averaging 6.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG. Casspi, 31, has played for a handful of NBA teams since the 2016/17 season and is a career 36.8% 3-point shooter.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • JaKarr Sampson has signed with Shandong in the Chinese Basketball Association, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. Sampson played six games with Shandong last season and 24 G league games with the Windy City Bulls. The 26-year-old forward also appeared in four games with the NBA Bulls last season and has 173 NBA games under his belt.
  • The Las Vegas Summer League has been highly successful but there are no plans for the league to expand in that city or anywhere else, according to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Commissioner Adam Silver said that expansion is “not on our agenda right now.” Silver also reiterated there are no plans to relocate a current franchise. “There have been no indications from any of our current franchises that they’re considering relocating,” Silver said.
  • Terry Armstrong, a 2020 draft prospect, will play South East Melbourne Phoenix of the Australian National Basketball League, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. The 6’7” Armstrong is currently rated No. 40 by Givony. No. 6 prospect RJ Hampton and No. 24 prospect LaMelo Ball have also signed with the NBL. Armstrong played for four high schools in three different states.

Grizzlies To Release Omri Casspi

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is among the NBA’s roster casualties on deadline day, according to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link). Wallace reports that the Grizzlies are waiving Casspi in order to keep their roster count at 15 players.

Memphis has agreed to a series of deadline trades, including one with the Raptors that will see three players sent to the Grizzlies in exchange for Marc Gasol. As a result, Memphis needed to open up a roster spot to accommodate those incoming players.

Casspi makes sense as the odd man out. The 30-year-old recently suffered a torn meniscus and it was unclear whether or not he’d be able to return this season, Wallace notes. Casspi will get a head start on unrestricted free agency for next season after averaging 6.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 36 games for Memphis.

Meanwhile, the release of Casspi bodes well for Bruno Caboclo, who is on his second 10-day deal with the Grizzlies and was another candidate to be waived, based on his contract situation. However, Memphis likes what it has seen from Caboclo and there’s a good chance he’ll get a rest-of-season contract, perhaps even with guaranteed money for next season too, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

Grizzlies’ Omri Casspi To Undergo Knee Surgery

Grizzlies forward Omri Casspi will undergo surgery next week to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, according to a team press release.

An MRI on Friday revealed the injury. A timeline for his return will be determined following the procedure.

Casspi, who played for the Warriors last season, was signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract in July and will be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer. The 30-year-old journeyman forward has appeared in 36 games this season, averaging 6.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 14.4 MPG off the bench.

Casspi has not played the last three games. His stint in Memphis hasn’t gone smoothly, including a scrap with teammate Garrett Temple early last month. However, he reached double figures in points in four of his last six appearances.

Grizzlies Notes: Holiday, Temple, Casspi, Parsons

After attempting to send MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden to Phoenix last month in a three-team trade that would’ve netted them Kelly Oubre, the Grizzlies moved those same players in Thursday’s deal for Justin Holiday. While the deal isn’t as favorable as the one they thought they had for Oubre, that’s why this one was able to get done, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian writes in his breakdown of the swap.

Herrington isn’t overly bullish on the trade, noting that it reduces the Grizzlies’ flexibility to some extent — the team has an open roster spot as a result of the two-for-one deal, but probably won’t have enough breathing room under the luxury tax line to fill it right away. Herrington also isn’t sure that Holiday represents a meaningful upgrade over the younger Selden, and notes that Memphis will now likely be left without a pick in the 2019 draft.

Still, as Herrington observes, it’s possible that Brooks’ and Selden’s inclusion in that failed trade with the Suns and Wizards “poisoned the waters” and left those players unhappy. If that was the case, this new deal may help lift any lingering unease in the locker room, making it more worthwhile.

Here’s more out of Memphis:

  • In the wake of a Wednesday postgame meeting that involved a physical altercation between Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi, GM Chris Wallace apologized to Grizzlies fans and said the team would hand out internal discipline, per an Associated Press report. Wallace was also displeased that details of the incident leaked to the media so quickly, adding that the club would handle that internally as well.
  • Within that same AP report, Temple and Casspi both addressed the reported altercation, though neither player went into much detail. “Some things were said and some things happened,” Temple said. “At the end of the day we’re brothers. We’ve known each other since we were rookies. At the end of the day, we came out of that meeting … on the same page and we’re moving on from it.”
  • David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal wonders if the locker room incident speaks to a leadership void for the Grizzlies.
  • Chandler Parsons is healthy and wants to get back on the court, but it’s not clear which Grizzlies player(s) should be sacrificing minutes for the oft-injured forward. Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian takes a closer look at the situation.

Grizzlies’ Postgame Meeting Turns Physical

The Grizzlies‘ slide down the Western Conference standings continued on Wednesday, as the team lost its third consecutive game – and 10th of 13 – to slip below .500 for the first time since October. After the game, frustrations with that slump boiled over in Memphis’ locker room, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi were involved in an altercation after a team meeting turned physical.

League sources tell Charania that the meeting began with coaches and players “questioning each other about their effort and what each can do to improve.” However, when the bench unit was accused of a lack of enthusiasm, Casspi “became vocal in his defense.” Temple and Casspi had a verbal exchange which turned physical before the two men were separated, per Charania.

A source tells ESPN.com that the scuffle between Temple and Casspi was “heat-of-the-moment stuff,” and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff didn’t mention it during his post-game comments. At the time that Bickerstaff addressed the media, approximately 30 minutes later than expected, news of the physical altercation hadn’t yet leaked, giving the coach some leeway to downplay what happened in the locker room.

“A conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. “I think addressing larger issues was the conversation that we needed to have. Right now it’s not X’s and O’s that need to be resolved. I think we resolved some of those issues tonight.”

The Grizzlies, who were 15-9 less than a month ago, now sit at 18-19, tied with the Mavericks for 10th in the West. Memphis is still within striking distance of the top eight, 2.5 games back of the Spurs (No. 7) and Lakers (No. 8), but the club will need to right the ship soon in order to avoid slipping further out of the playoff race in a competitive conference.

Temple and Casspi are both in contract years, on track to become unrestricted free agents this summer, so it wouldn’t be hard to trade one of them before next month’s deadline. However, there’s no indication at this point that that would be necessary. Of the two, Temple is the least expendable — he has started 37 games and averaged 31.8 MPG this season, emerging as a veteran leader for the Grizzlies after arriving from Sacramento in an offseason trade.

Dillon Brooks Out Six To Eight Weeks With MCL Sprain

Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks suffered a grade II MCL sprain in the team’s Saturday victory over the Sixers, the team announced in a press release on Monday. Brooks is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Brooks tripped over the basketball on a bounce pass attempt by Joel Embiid and his knee hyperextended. He left the game and underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed the severity of the injury.

Brooks, 22, is a key part of Memphis’ second unit. The second-round pick from 2017 NBA draft averaged 6.8 PPG and 2.1 RPG through 11 games (18.9 MPG) this season while providing a spark on defense. In 82 games (74 starts) last season, Brooks averaged 11.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies also provided updates on Omri Casspi, JaMychal Green and Chandler Parsons. Casspi (knee) is nearing a full recovery and is expected to return at some point this week. Green (jaw) appeared in two games this season before undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw in late October; he’s expected to return within two weeks. Finally, Parsons (knee) is limited by the injury and another update will be issued in two weeks.

Warriors Notes: Green, Casspi, McKinnie

Draymond Green is eager to win the Defensive Player of the Year award and with good reason — he would be eligible for a super max extension, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. Citing fellow ESPN contributor Bobby Marks, Friedell notes that Green could receive a five-year, $235MM extension that would start in 2020 if he captured the prize, though Golden State could only sign one more player to a Designated Veteran Contract because Stephen Curry already has that type of deal.

“I need that bad. Real bad,” Green said of the Defensive Player of the Year award. “I made second team All-Defense last year. I’m (ticked) about that still. I’ll be (ticked) until I right that, so that’s a serious goal of mine this year.”

We have more from the Warriors:

  • Forward Omri Casspi didn’t play at all during the Warriors’ postseason run but the franchise will honor him anyway during a ring ceremony on Monday, Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News reports. Casspi, now a member of the Grizzlies, was waived just before the playoffs to open up a roster spot for guard Quinn Cook. Casspi appeared in 53 games with the Warriors after signing a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal but was sidelined by an ankle injury before he was waived.
  • Alfonzo McKinnie acknowledges that the impasse between Patrick McCaw and the Warriors helped him land a standard contract, as he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic in a lengthy Q&A session. McKinnie, a 6’8” forward, is averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG off the bench and recorded a double-double against the Bulls last week. McKinnie originally came in on a two-way deal but received a two-year contract in training camp, though his salary for this season won’t fully guaranteed until January 10th. “The McCaw stuff, I guess, was good for my situation,” McKinnie said. “But it’s not something I can control. Just went through training camp, worked my butt off and they liked what they’ve seen.”
  • The Warriors remain hopeful of retaining DeMarcus Cousins beyond this season. Get the details here.

Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Casspi, Grunwald

Utilizing Dirk Nowitzki as a sixth man might be the best strategy for the Mavericks during the upcoming season, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News opines. The team seems committed to start rookie guard Luka Doncic, so if Nowitzki also starts, that would thrust Wesley Matthews into a bench role, Sefko notes. Pairing Nowitzki with reserve guard J.J. Barea in pick-and-pop situations might be a more sensible route, Sefko adds.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Omri Casspi‘s offensive skills will provide a different element to the Grizzlies’ rotation than Jarell Martin, the player he essentially replaces, according to Michael Wallace of the team’s website. Casspi, who signed a one-year deal in July, probably won’t play as much as Martin did but Casspi shot 58% from the field and 45.5% from long range for the Warriors last season. His ability to space the floor with his long-range prowess and also cut to the basket will make him an asset, Wallace continues. Martin has more athleticism and defensive versatility than Casspi but never produced as consistently as the Grizzlies had hoped, Wallace adds.
  • Former Raptors GM Glen Grunwald has accepted a consultant’s role with the Grizzlies, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports. Grunwald has also held preliminary negotiations with Canada Basketball, the country’s governing body for the sport, concerning its executive director opening, Smith adds. Grunwald left his post as the director of athletics and recreation at Canada’s McMaster University to join the Grizzlies organization.
  • What are the remaining offseason questions for Southwest Division teams? We take a closer look here.