AFTER BEING released by the Golden State Warriors last season, Israel’s Omri Casspi is set to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Omri Casspi will again suit up for Maccabi Tel Aviv after the team’s lengthy recruitment campaign for the NBA veteran forward.
Engaged in an arms race with other European basketball powerhouses, Maccabi was looking to make a big signing this offseason given the departure of Alex Tyus. Maccabi worked hard to facilitate Casspi’s return to the team, after he departed for the NBA in 2009.
As reported by sports channel Sport5, Maccabi “accelerated” negotiations with Casspi in light of Milos Teodosic signing with Virtus Bologna last week. The Israeli side had been in contract with Casspi for a few months, and Fox, the club’s main sponsor, was apparently willing to cover a part of Casspi’s contract.
The final agreement is reportedly a $3.2 million three-year deal in which Casspi will earn $1 million in each of the first two seasons and $1.2 million in the third. He will also re-assume his role as team captain, and be given a management position when he hangs up his sneakers.
Casspi’s priority was to sign an NBA deal after entering free agency when the Memphis Grizzlies waived him in February. However, as most of the NBA’s 30 teams completed their offseason signings and Casspi maintained his preference for a playoff-bound team, there were few such NBA clubs that could offer him a suitable contract.
Casspi, 31, played for Maccabi from 2005 to 2009 – minus the 2006/07 loan to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil – before being drafted 23rd overall by the Sacramento Kings to begin his NBA career. He averaged 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 20.3 minutes over 588 NBA games spanning 10 years with the Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and the Grizzlies.
He was a member of the Warriors’ 2017/18 title-winning team
and though he was injured throughout the playoffs, he still received a championship ring from the club.
During his time at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Casspi won two league championships and one State Cup, capturing the sixth man of the year award in the 2007/08 season, and was named to the all-BSL first-team in 2008/09.
Despite knee injuries, Casspi should still provide good numbers and leadership for Maccabi, especially for a team looking to improve its three-point shooting. He was nearly a 37% shooter from long-range in the NBA, where the three-point distance is half a meter longer than in Israel and Europe. His defense may have taken a hit and he may have lost a step in terms of speed, but in the right system, Casspi can still be a primary contributor in both Israel and the Euroleague.
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