Pelicans waive Omri Casspi, who could be headed to Kings

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Omri Casspi, in a summer where more players than ever are being moved for financial purposes rather than what they bring on the court, is the latest caught in the whirlwind.

The Rockets sent him to the Pelicans in the Omer Asik trade, an inclusion that helped Houston create a trade exception but wasn’t paramount to the deal occurring. Casspi’s marginality in Houston appeared to be New Oreans’ gain.

The Pelicans can’t trade Casspi in a deal that aggregates his salary until Sept. 15, severely diminishing his usefulness as an asset, especially because his unguaranteed contract becomes fully guaranteed Aug. 6. But I figured New Orleans, efficient (No. 6 in 3-point percentage) though selective (29th in 3-point attempt rate) from beyond the arc, could still use him – especially after Anthony Morrow left for the Thunder.

Instead, Casspi will be changing teams again.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Because Casspi is on any minimum salary, any team  can claim him.

If multiple teams submit claims, he’ll go to the one with the worst record last season. The Kings rank seventh in that pecking order – behind the Bucks, 76ers, Magic, Jazz, Celtics and Lakers.

Casspi would remain on the same contract, which doesn’t become guaranteed until Aug. 6. A team that claims him still couldn’t trade him before that date, but it could hold his rights while determining whether or not to keep him. There’s little risk in submitting a claim at this time of year. Casspi could always be waived yet again in the next two weeks.

If the Kings nab Casspi – who began his NBA career in Sacramento – they’d likely waive Quincy Acy, whose contract becomes guaranteed Saturday. They could claim Casspi without waiving Acy, though that would take them over the luxury-tax line. Tax payments aren’t determined until the regular season ends, but why be put in the position of losing revenue-sharing payments when you can just drop Acy at no cost now?

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.