Gal Mekel

And-Ones: Holiday, Hibbert, Lawson

Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday could be sidelined for more than another month after reaggravating the stress reaction injury in his lower right leg on Monday, John Reid of reports. The Pelicans announced on Wednesday that he will be re-evaluated in three weeks by the team’s medical staff but New Orleans offered no timetable for his return. Holiday, who suffered the setback while doing light drills, has been sidelined since January 14th. He was averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 assists prior to the injury.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pacers are open to trading Roy Hibbert, rival executives told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). There is nothing imminent regarding a potential trade of Indiana’s starting center, Kennedy adds.
  • Gal Mekel is being hotly pursued by Hapoel Jerusalem of the Israel Premier League, David Pick of tweets. Mekel, a point guard, appeared in four games with the Pelicans in December this season.
  • Trade chatter around the Raptors is unusually low, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. The Raptors are looking toward the offseason to make any big moves, Wolstat adds.
  • Jermaine O’Neal, who has opted not to play this season, hinted that the Warriors and Trail Blazers as well as the Mavs were interested in his services, according to quotes posted by Tim MacMahon of from a Dallas radio interview. The Mavs were expected to sign O’Neal but the veteran delayed his comeback because he felt that the timing wasn’t right, O’Neal explained in the interview on 103.3 FM’s “Friedo and Fitzsimmons” show.
  • The Nuggets are still considering offers for Arron Afflalo, and some “late charging” teams have expressed interest in the guard, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The Blazers are still strongly in the mix to acquire Afflalo, Wojnarowski adds.
  • Ty Lawson‘s no-show at Nuggets practice on Wednesday might be a ploy on Lawson’s part to force a trade, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders opines. Lawson’s absence was unexcused by Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post.
  • The Timberwolves had checked in on free agent Jamaal Tinsley but never offered him a 10-day contract, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets. It was reported earlier that Minnesota and two other teams had offered Tinsley 10-day deals that he had declined.

And-Ones: Rivers, Howard, Green

JaMychal Green is going to rejoin the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest tweets. Green recently completed a single 10-day contract with the Spurs, with whom he averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in five appearances. The 24-year-old has reportedly garnered interest as a possible 10-day signee from the Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Austin Rivers is beginning to hit his stride with the Clippers, Arash Markazi of writes. “He’s just getting comfortable and trying to figure out his spots,” Los Angeles president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re trying to get him to [be more aggressive]. He’s a guard, so he’s trying to facilitate, and we need his aggression. It was funny — C.P. [Chris Paul] grabbed him and said, ‘You can get to the basket, we need you to attack.’ He listened to him, which was good.”
  • The Clippers have missed the bench production of Darren Collison, who signed with the Kings as a free agent this past offseason, and are hoping that Rivers can fill that void, Markazi adds. “He doesn’t do the pick-up [like Collison], but where he’s better is once the ball crosses half court,” the elder Rivers said. “He’s 6’5″, so he gives us length and speed and that’s been good for us.”
  • Rockets big man Dwight Howard has been advised to obtain a second medical opinion regarding his injured right knee, and he could miss an extended period of playing time, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports.
  • Free agent guard Gal Mekel is thinking about returning overseas to play, David Pick of reports (Twitter link). Mekel had reportedly passed on numerous overseas offers after being released by the Pelicans, and he was hoping to land a spot with another NBA team.

Pelicans Sign Nate Wolters To 10-Day Contract

WEDNESDAY, 9:20am: The signing is official, the team announced via press release.

TUESDAY, 7:25pm: Wolters has agreed to a 10-day contract with the Pelicans and is on his way to join the team in Detroit, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link).

5:58pm: The Pelicans are targeting free agent Nate Wolters for a 10-day contract, Marc Stein of reports (Twitter link). Wolters cleared waivers today after being waived by the Bucks earlier this week. The point guard was released by Milwaukee to clear a roster slot for Kenyon Martin, who was inked to a 10-day pact of his own.

New Orleans currently has two open roster spots, so no corresponding move will need to be made to add Wolters to the team. The Pelicans had also been considering signing Mike James or Gal Mekel prior to Wolters becoming available, Stein adds in a separate tweet.

The 23-year-old Wolters appeared in 11 contests for the Bucks this season, averaging 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists. His shooting numbers were .433/.269/.638.

And-Ones: Richardson, Mekel, Jenkins

Sixers guard Jason Richardson said that he expects to return to the court in late January after being sidelined for nearly two years, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports. Richardson last played in an NBA game on January 18th, 2013 before knee and ankle maladies sidelined him. “It will mean a lot to come back,” Richardson said. “I thought I was done playing. I really did. But seeing my son play AAU over the summertime, seeing his love for the game, it made me get the love back for the game. My thing is to always walk away on my own terms. I understand that things happen. Me having this knee injury, fading away like that is not the way I wanted to go out. Retirement is three or four years away from now.”

Here’s more from around the league and abroad:

  • Michael Jenkins has signed a deal with the Turkish club Istanbul BSB, David Pick of reports (Twitter link). Jenkins was in training camp this season with the Thunder prior to being waived.
  • NBA scouts and executives are essentially in agreement that Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker are better pro prospects than fellow Kentucky backcourt studs Andrew Harrison and brother Aaron Harrison, according to Chad Ford of, who writes in his weekly chat. Booker is No. 35, Ulis is No. 48, Andrew is No. 65 and Aaron is No. 67 in Ford’s prospect rankings.
  • Gal Mekel is still hoping to land with an NBA team after being released by the Pelicans earlier this month, Allon Sinai of The Jerusalem Post writes. “After I was released by New Orleans I received several offers from Europe and Israel,” Mekel said. “I wanted to give them the respect they deserve and listen to them all. It is no secret that I really want to remain in the NBA and I believe with all my heart that I can succeed in this league. But I also really want to play, lead and realize my potential.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Suns, Mekel, Curry

The Suns have assigned Tyler Ennis, Archie Goodwin, and T.J. Warren to the Bakersfield Jam, their D-League affiliate, the Associated Press reports. Ennis and Warren each appeared in two games during their one previous assignment to Bakersfield this season. Warren is averaging 36 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Jam, and Ennis has averaged 22 points and 7.5 assists per contest. This will be Goodwin’s first trip of the season to the D-League.

Here’s the latest from the Western Conference:

  •  With the Warriors‘ fast start to the season, Stephen Curry‘s stature around the league and his value is rising right along with the franchise’s, Antonio Gonzalez of The Associated Press writes.
  • Gal Mekel said that he has passed on numerous overseas offers, and that he “wouldn’t have been able to live with himself” if he had missed out on any NBA offers because of accepting an overseas deal, David Pick of Eurobasket reports (Twitter links). Mekel was recently waived by the Pelicans, though New Orleans coach Monty Williams has indicated that the team will consider re-signing the player.
  • Kevin Durant‘s recent ankle injury has shown just how fragile the Thunder‘s playoff hopes are, Royce Young of writes. “You can’t take winning for granted,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Winning a game is hard. My first-year coach, Jimmy Lynam, used to always say that. Winning a game in this league is tough. And number one is health. Having your full roster to work with gives you the best chance to win.”

Western Rumors: Chandler, Gasol, Mekel

Let’s dive in and have a look at the latest rumors and rumblings out of the NBA’s Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets have received multiple inquiries about the availability of Wilson Chandler, but the team has expressed to the 29-year-old forward that they prefer to retain him, as Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post notes within his weekly mailbag column.
  • Pau Gasol admits it was a tough decision to leave the Lakers and sign with the Bulls, and not only because of his emotional attachment to the city of Los Angeles, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times details. The Lakers offered offered Gasol deals featuring a no-trade clause worth $29MM over three years and $23MM over two years. Gasol, who eventually signed with Chicago on a three-year, $22MM deal, says it’s been difficult to watch the Lakers struggle this season but that he doesn’t regret his decision.
  • Discussions between Gal Mekel and Maccabi Tel Aviv have hit a snag, reports David Pick of (via Twitter). We learned on Tuesday that the ex-Pelicans guard had an offer from Maccabi to return overseas, but that opportunity has apparently been put on hold. Instead, former eighth overall pick Joe Alexander is finalizing and agreement to leave the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League and join Maccabi, Pick passes along (Twitter links). Alexander had a deal in place to join the Nuggets for camp this fall before failing a physical.

And-Ones: Mavs, Nuggets, Mekel

Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson expressed confidence that Dallas would soon bolster its bench with the addition of either Jermaine O’Neal or Josh Smith, Tim MacMahon of reports. “I feel pretty good that we’ll be able to come to terms with one,” Nelson said. “Certainly to come up with both would be just hitting a grand slam home run. Look, there’s a long line for suitors on both fronts. I think the fact that Jermaine has chosen Dallas to be his home in the long term certainly has its place and resonates with time with family and such. And here’s a guy who has a long history not only with our coach but with our point guard/quarterback. That certainly has a place.”

As for Smith’s potential role with the team, Nelson said, “If he did fit and if he joined us, it would be a sixth man situation, but we’d see him as a starting-caliber type guy. He’s got a very rare combination of strength and versatility. He’d be a great addition for whatever team is lucky enough to get his services, but he understands and is fully aware that we have a power forward that we’re very comfortable with and Tyson [Chandler] has got the center position locked down, so he would be a heck of a piece at any one of our three frontline positions.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has repeatedly told his players that they must improve their play soon or the team is at risk for changes, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reports (Twitter links). “You see teams are making moves and making changes. I’m sure we’d be one of those teams, too,” Shaw said.
  • The Rockets sent the Wolves $1MM as part of the Corey Brewer trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
  • Gal Mekel‘s agent, Maurizio Balducci, is exploring a return overseas to Maccabi Tel Aviv for his client, who was recently waived by the Pelicans, David Pick of Eurobasket reports (Twitter links). Maccabi is offering Mekel a long-term agreement with multiple NBA outs, Pick adds. New Orleans coach Monty Williams had also previously indicated that the Pelicans were considering offering a new deal to Mekel.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Rondo, Mekel, Conley

The Rockets were runners-up in the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes, but they’re set to land Corey Brewer, whom they’d reportedly been targeting for a while. Brewer is excited to reunite with Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who was behind Minnesota’s decision to draft Brewer seventh overall in 2007, as the swingman tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Still, Brewer made it clear wasn’t anxious to leave the Wolves and never asked for or wanted a trade, Zgoda tweets, which seems to conflict with an report indicating that he had requested that the Wolves send him to a contending team.

“Kind of mixed emotions just because I really love Minnesota,” Brewer said to Zgoda. “People don’t understand how much I love Minnesota. I wanted to end my career here. That’s why I signed back here. I thought it’d be possible, but I understand we’re going young. It’s going to be a few years, but the Wolves have great, young talent.”

Brewer, who has a $4.905MM player option for next season, can hit free agency this summer. Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • New Mavs point guard Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston, friend and former teammate Kendrick Perkins says, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports notes via Twitter. Rondo made several public statements indicating his fondness for the Celtics prior to the trade.
  • It’s unclear whether Brewer waived his player option as part of the Rockets deal, but Chase Budinger indicated that he wouldn’t do so with his $5MM player option when the Rockets gauged whether he would, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities hears (Twitter link).
  • Troy Daniels is disappointed that he’s leaving the Rockets as part of the Brewer trade agreement, he tells Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston, though he added that he’s hopeful that he’ll see more playing time in Minnesota than he has in Houston.
  • Pelicans coach Monty Williams confirmed that the team isn’t ruling out a new deal with Gal Mekel, whom New Orleans waived earlier today, observes Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune (Twitter link). That jibes with this morning’s report from David Pick of that the Pelicans hope Mekel clears waivers.
  • Mike Conley is a bargain for the Grizzlies, making just slightly more than $8.694MM this year on a contract that expires after next season, and an Eastern Conference executive tells Chris Mannix of that the point guard would garner at least $14MM annually on the open market.

Pelicans Waive Gal Mekel

11:04am: The move is official, the team announced via press release. The statement didn’t make any mention of a corresponding transaction.

9:39am: The Pelicans are releasing Gal Mekel, sources tell David Pick of (Twitter link). Pick indicates that the team has already waived the Israeli point guard, though New Orleans has yet to make an official announcement. The team is hoping that Mekel clears waivers, according to Pick. That would seem to suggest that the club intends to re-sign him should he become a free agent, though that’s just my speculation, and it’s not clear if Mekel’s release would be related to any other transaction. He’d signed a non-guaranteed two-year deal for the minimum salary earlier this month. His subtraction would leave the Pelicans with 14 players, one shy of the maximum.

New Orleans reportedly inquired about Jeff Green lately, and there are conflicting reports about whether the team is ready to move some of its core players, though another dispatch from a few weeks ago pitted them as having been aggressive in trade talks. Dispensing with Mekel would give the team a measure of flexibility to make an unbalanced swap, but unless a move is imminent, it wouldn’t make sense for the Pelicans to part ways with Mekel if they still found him a worthwhile part of the club.

There would seemingly be a decent chance that another team would claim him off waivers, since visa issues were apparently the only stumbling block that kept him from signing with the Pacers earlier this season, he worked out for the Lakers, and the Thunder have reportedly held interest in him, too. The Mavs, Mekel’s original team, have an open roster spot following the Rajon Rondo trade.

The 26-year-old has seen 10.8 minutes per game in four appearances with New Orleans, averaging 1.5 points, 3.3 assists and 0.5 turnovers per contest. The Pelicans are relatively thin at the point behind Jrue Holiday, as rookie Russ Smith is the only other pure point guard on the team. They also possess combo guards Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette and Austin Rivers.

And-Ones: Knicks, Mekel, Mirotic, Kerr

The Knicks have started the season with a record of 4-17, but there is upside to the team’s horrendous start, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Ending up in the early part of the lottery could lead to the addition of a franchise changing player to the team either by the draft itself or by a trade that sends the pick out in a package that lands the Knicks an elite talent, like the Cavs did with Kevin Love this past offseason. Isola points out that the Knicks haven’t been the most patient franchise when it comes to developing talent and notes that the last two Knicks’ draft picks to make the All-Star team were David Lee, who was drafted in 2005, and Mark Jackson, who was selected in the 1987 draft.

Here’s more from around the Association:

  • Gal Mekel‘s two-year, non-guaranteed deal he signed with the Pelicans will pay him $639K this season, and he’ll earn $947,276 during the 2015/16 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). That means the deal is a minimum-salary arrangement.
  • The Bulls‘ three-year wait for Nikola Mirotic brought back memories of a similar saga with Toni Kukoc two decades ago, writes Steve Aschburner of But while Kukoc was publicly dissed by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Mirotic has gotten a friendly reception from Chicago’s current stars.  “He can put it on the floor, he can make plays for people, he can get to the basket,” Mike Dunleavy said of Mirotic, who is in the first season of a three-year, $16.6MM deal. “Defensively he’s pretty good — blocks shots, gets his hands on a lot of balls. As he gets used to everything a little more, he’ll foul less and be a pretty effective defender.”
  • Steve Kerr, who has the Warriors off to the NBA’s best start in his first season behind the team’s bench, tells Sam Smith of that his coaching style borrows from every coach he ever played under. Kerr played for two of the league’s most successful coaches ever in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, but said he learned something everywhere he went. Cotton Fitzsimmons and Lenny Wilkens and Lute Olson; you sort of take a little from each person,” Kerr said. “But what they all told me was to be yourself. They said you have to be yourself, that players will know if you are trying to do something that is not you.” 

Arthur Hill and Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.