Hapoel Jerusalem’s biggest symbol in recent years has left the club, with Yuval
Naimi announcing on Friday that he has signed for Russian side BC Triumph
Lyubertsy Moscow Region.
The 26-year-old Israel international came
through the Jerusalem youth system and starred for the team in the past four
seasons. He decided to leave his home club for a lucrative offer estimated to be
around $350,000 a season after tax.
“I would like to thank Hapoel
Jerusalem for a great time and for the love and support I was given,” said
Naimi, who made his breakthrough at Ironi Ashkelon in the 2007/08 season while
on loan from Jerusalem.
“I wish the club all the best and I’m certain I
will be able to embark on a new course and further my career.”
averaged 11.8 points and 4.2 assists in BSL action for Hapoel last season and
his clutch baskets will be surly missed by the team’s fans, which idolized
He has long been rumored to be considering a move abroad and his
decision to accept Moscow Region’s offer is likely related to the turmoil
currently engulfing the club.
Legendary chairman Danny Klein, Naimi’s
brother-in-law, has announced that he will be leaving the club after 17 years,
sending in a letter requesting the money he believes he is owed according to his
As a result, owner Guma Aguiar, who purchased a 60 percent
stake of the club last September after agreeing to transfer it $1.75 million for
three seasons, offered to sell the team.
The colorful American is
concerned he may have to pay Klein with a sum reaching millions of shekels, and
with main sponsor Migdal also already declaring that it will be reducing its
backing, Aguiar finds himself in a very awkward situation.
still decide to stay at the club if his requests are met, but at least for the
time being, Jerusalem’s future remains shrouded in doubt.