(photo credit: ISRAEL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION)
Omri Casspi is set to finalize a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings, returning to the team with which he began his NBA career five years ago.
The 26-year-old forward was waived by the New Orleans Pelicans as expected last Wednesday, just two weeks after he was traded to the team from the Houston Rockets. He was acquired in a three-team trade earlier this month but the Pelicans never had any intention of retaining his services.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein first reported that Casspi will sign a one-year contract with the Kings at the league minimum after he cleared waivers on Friday.
Casspi, who played for the Kings in his first two seasons in the NBA before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and then joining Houston, sounded very interested in returning to Sacramento when he was questioned on the matter last week.
“My agent [Dan Fegan] is talking with a number of teams,” he told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee, “and the Kings are one of them. Couldn’t they use a stretch forward who can hit a three and loves to run? I think I could help, and it would be fun to play with Rudy [Gay], DeMarcus [Cousins], J.T.
I still have a lot of friends there.
I would love to come back and fulfill my path. But now I have to concentrate on the national team, and maybe, I can get some of this pressure off my chest.”
Casspi led Israel with 19 points in the 73-63 defeat to the Czech Republic on Saturday in the blue-and-white’s final game of a mini-tournament in Moscow. Israel beat Russia B 67-57 on Friday and impressed in an 87-72 victory over Russia A on Friday.
The national team fought back from a 47-33 halftime deficit, with Guy Pnini scoring a team-high 16 points.
Israel, which hosts Montenegro in Rishon Lezion on August 10 in the first of six EuroBasket qualifiers over 18 days, couldn’t cap the tournament in Moscow with a win on Saturday but was nevertheless pleased with its overall performance.
“This was a good tournament to get rid of the rust and learn coach Erez Edelstein’s system,” said Casspi. “We achieved our goals. We are looking good and playing as a team and that is very positive.”
In other basketball news, Maccabi Tel Aviv announced the signing of forward Brian Randle to a two-year contract on Friday. The 29-year-old American has played in Israel for almost his entire professional career, spending two seasons at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, two at Hapoel Jerusalem, half a season at Hapoel Tel Aviv and last season at Maccabi Haifa.