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