New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar will begin the 2011/12 season as a member of Maccabi Tel Aviv after agreeing on Wednesday to join the yellow-and- blue until the NBA lockout ends.

Maccabi had said that it has no intention in signing NBA players that will likely leave the team midway through the season.

However, it decided to make an exception for Farmar, an American-Jew with strong connections to Israel, after he approached Maccabi in the hope of playing for the yellow-and-blue.

“I’m very excited to be coming to Tel Aviv,” Farmer said. “My step-father is a citizen of Tel Aviv and I spent time there as a child.”

Despite his original reluctance to sign a player that will probably not be around for the business end of the season, coach David Blatt conceded on Wednesday that he simply couldn’t say no to Farmar.

“This is a very exciting and special signing,” Blatt said. “Due to the unusual situation with the NBA lockout, players of the highest level have suddenly found themselves available. It is true that we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t get involved in such an adventure, but this is an extraordinary and rare case.

“I must say that in all my years as a coach, Farmar is one of the more special players I have met. The most important thing is that Jordan has a strong connection with the country, having deep Jewish and Israeli roots, and we see him one day being a permanent and leading player at Maccabi once he ends his impressive contract in the NBA.

“We remain loyal to our vision of bringing the top Israeli and Jewish players to Maccabi.”

After two seasons at UCLA, Farmar was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 26th pick overall in the 2006 NBA draft.

In his four seasons with the Lakers, the 24-year-old helped the team to two NBA championships (2009-2010), averaging 9.1 points and 2.7 assists in 20.6 minutes on court in his best season in Los Angeles in 2007/08.


Last summer, Farmar left the Lakers for a three-year, $12 million contract with the New Jersey Nets, at which he became a key player, averaging 9.6 points and 5.0 assists in 24.6 minutes.

Farmar will return to the Nets once the NBA lockout ends, but Maccabi is delighted to have him on board for as long as possible.

“Jordan approached us asking to play in Israel because of his special connection with the country,” Maccabi chairman Shimon Mizrahi said.

“We spoke to him several times and we were very impressed with his genuine wish to play in Israel, both this season and in the future. We are delighted to have signed this wonderful player and personality.”

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