I wonder what having dinner with Tom Thibodeau is like.
After a season-ending injury to Nemanja Bjelica and Lance Stephenson being let go in the same week, the Wolves are reportedly closing in on a deal for a roster (and rotation) replacement.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Tom Thibodeau and the Wolves are close to sealing a deal with forward Omri Casspi. The pitch was reportedly made through Thibs during a dinner meeting in New Orleans last night.
Tom Thibodeau made a personal recruiting pitch to Omri Casspi over dinner in New Orleans before the Wolves play there tonight, sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 19, 2017
After spending half of this season in Dave Joerger’s doghouse in Sacramento, he was packaged with DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans in the biggest deal of this season’s deadline. All that, only to fracture his right thumb in his first game as a Pelican. He was having a good game, too. He was waived by the New Orleans the next day.
Rough year, man.
Before that, Casspi developed a reputation as a solid bench scoring power forward and floor stretcher. His best success came in 2015-16 under George Karl, when he shot over 40 percent from 3, playing 27 minutes per game in 69 games and 21 starts.
Offensively, he brings something that they’ve missed since Bjelica went down. He’s a historically good catch-and-shoot player (a career 37 percent shooter from deep), has some handle going to the basket, and isn’t afraid of attacking the glass on either end.
His recent career numbers suggest he’s actually a plus defender, as the Kings and Rockets (in 2013-14) actually had better defensive ratings with him on the floor 2 of the past 3 years. Part of that could be the weirdness of the Kings the past 2 years, but it’s certainly not a bad sign. The weirdest thing about his game: his free throw numbers for an efficient outside shooter are surprisingly bad. He has never shot over 3 per game through an entire season, but his career best free throw percentage is .685. Last year, he shot just .571 from the line. This is likely an overall low-impact move, but still, it is a solid late-season move to replace Bjelica.
The Wolves play Casspi’s “old team” tonight in New Orleans. There likely isn’t enough time between now and 5pm CT to get all the paperwork in for a legendary revenge game, but hey, the Kings are in town April 1st. Maybe we’ll see it then.
In the meantime, he’s a look at one of his better games from 2015-16.