The Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly signed free agent Omri Casspi, according to ESPN.com. The move comes on the heels of news that forward Nemanja Bjelica is out for the season. Adding Casspi gives the team yet another veteran on the roster.
Casspi is an eight-year veteran who spent his first two seasons in the league with Sacramento. He then spent the next three seasons with Cleveland and Houston before rejoining the Kings for the last two. Casspi was a secondary piece in the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans earlier this season. The Pelicans then waived him after he broke his thumb in his first game.
If it weren’t for breaking his thumb, Casspi wouldn’t be a free agent. He has that much going for him. It’s curious that Casspi chose the Timberwolves over the Celtics, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Stein added that Tom Thibodeau personally pitched Casspi to choose the Timberwolves. Per Stein, Casspi will fly back with the Timberwolves from New Orleans on Monday night.
What’s interesting is Casspi’s choice. The Timberwolves can’t match the promise of a deep playoff run like the Celtics can. Thibodeau and Co. may not be conceding the chase but they are four games back of the eighth seed. With 14 games less, making the playoffs will take a small miracle. However, the team can promise Casspi playing time that Boston may not. The Timberwolves were in need of another forward to fill Bjelica’s minutes and Casspi should slide right in.
Casspi’s ability to hit the 3-ball should give him ample playing time. He’s shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc the last two seasons and is shooting 39.4 percent from deep this season. The fact that he’s 6’9 and can play both forward spots also helps.
Both Casspi and Bjelica have similar numbers this season. Both players average about four rebounds and an assist per game. The only real difference is that Casspi is more efficient than Bjelica. Casspi has converted on 39.4 percent of his 3-point attempts this season while Bjelica has made just 31.1 percent. Going from below league average to above average should be a noticeable upgrade.
The funny thing is that they’re both 28 years old. That means that both players are young enough to play a part in the team’s future. I have no idea if they need both but adding more shooting to one of the lowest volume 3-point shooting teams in the league seems beneficial. If all goes well with Casspi
If all goes well with Casspi and he wants to stay, the Timberwolves should consider it. They’ll have just 14 games to evaluate the fit but that could still work. Should everything go well, retaining him on a team-friendly deal similar to those they handed out last summer would be an acceptable move.