A day after revealing he plans to try out for the Houston Rockets, Lior Eliyahu’s hopes of becoming an NBA player were handed an unexpected boost when his rights were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Eliyahu was selected 44th overall by the Orlando Magic in 2006 before being traded to Houston almost immediately.

However, he is now expected to take part in the upcoming Summer League in Las Vegas as a Wolves player, looking to become the second Israeli in the NBA after Omri Casspi.

Eliyahu’s rights were sent to Minnesota with Chase Budinger for the 18th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The Wolves play their first game in the Summer League in July 16 and finish it six days later, meaning Eliyahu is set to miss the start of the Israel national team’s training camp ahead of its EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers.

The 26-year-old forward still has three years remaining on his contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, but has an NBA buyout clause and can leave for $500,000 this summer, a sum which will rise by $250,000 in 2013.

Last year, Eliyahu averaged 8.5 points and three rebounds in 20 Euroleague games with Maccabi.

Tuesday’s development is further worrying news for Maccabi, which also looks set to lose Yogev Ohayon this summer.

Ohayon and Maccabi seem destined to meet in arbitration after the 25-year-old guard didn’t get the raise he was hoping for following a breakthrough season.

Both sides have exchanged insults via the media in recent weeks and it will take serious peacemaking for Ohayon to continue in the yellow-and-blue for another season.

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