Omri Casspi is on the verge of rejoining Maccabi Tel Aviv for the 2011/12
season, with coowner David Federman announcing on Sunday that personal terms
have been agreed with the Cleveland Cavaliers forward, who is set to sign until
the NBA lockout ends.
The 23-year-old Israeli would be the jewel in the
crown of Maccabi’s roster, which already boasts 14 senior players, including New
Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, former Duke star Jon Scheyer and Greek legend
Theodoros Papaloukas, who was signed on Saturday.
Gung-ho blue-and-white starts EuroBasket training
Casspi a Cav on paper, on court will have to wait
“We are in advanced
negotiations with Casspi and we have basically agreed all the financial terms,”
Federman told Army radio on Sunday.
“Assuming he decides to play in
Europe during the NBA lockout, he will do so at Maccabi.”
currently nursing a knee injury and is hoping to recover in time to play for the
Israel national team in the EuroBasket tournament, which begins on August 31 in
With Maccabi deciding to play in the Adriatic League as well
as the BSL and Euroleague this season, coach David Blatt demanded to build a
deep roster that will ensure his team will still be fresh when it arrives at the
closing stages of the campaign.
Tel Aviv held on to the core of its
roster from last season, including Jeremy Pargo, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Lior
Eliyahu, David Blu and Guy Pnini, before adding six new players, with the last
and seventh expected to be Casspi.
Scheyer, Shawn James, Devin Smith,
Yogev Ohayon, Farmar and Papaloukas were all signed, giving Blatt three quality
options in each position.
Both Farmar and Papaloukas approached Maccabi
in the hope of joining the team, with each agreeing to take a significant
pay-cut from what they are used to earning.
“No one knew anything about
the negotiations and this is a big step for me,” said the 34-year-old
Papaloukas, who will be earning in the region of $500,000 after making an
estimated 3.5 million euros at Greek club Olympiacos last season.
wanted to continue playing at the highest levels in Europe and there is no
better place to do that than with Maccabi.”