Mekel returns to Maccabi Tel Aviv, Farmar out

Speculation regarding Farmar’s future at Maccabi had been raging for weeks after he failed to settle at the club.

January 11, 2016 02:37
2 minute read.
Gal Mekel

Israel guard Gal Mekel. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)


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Gal Mekel is back at Maccabi Tel Aviv, agreeing on Sunday to a three-and-a-half year deal to return to his boyhood club.

The 27-year-old guard signed with the yellow-and-blue six years after asking to leave the team for Hapoel Gilboa/Galil due to limited playing time.

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Mekel will replace Jordan Farmar, who left the club on Sunday after a miserable six months.

Mekel turned down Maccabi and Hapoel Jerusalem to join Serbian champion Red Star Belgrade last summer, but was released last week after averaging just 3.8 points and 2.8 assists in 20 minutes per game in four Euroleague encounters before completely losing his place in the rotation.

Mekel’s decision to return to Maccabi may well mark the end of his NBA dream. Mekel had been hoping to renew his NBA career since he was cut by the New Orleans Pelicans in December 2014, but offers were not forthcoming. Mekel spent just two weeks with the Pelicans after being released by the Dallas Mavericks and was without a team for two months before joining Russian side BC Nizhny Novgorod in late February.

Speculation regarding Farmar’s future at Maccabi had been raging for weeks after he failed to settle at the club.

Farmar, who was the highest paid player on the roster earning in the region of $1.25 million this season, averaged 8.9 points and 2.8 assists in 20 minutes per game in Maccabi’s failed Euroleague campaign, and saw his role further marginalized following the signing of coach Zan Tabak in place of Guy Goodes.

“Jordan Farmar approached the management of Maccabi Tel Aviv and asked to be released from the team,” read a club statement. “The player wishes to return to the United States and search for a place on an NBA team. Maccabi’s management acquiesced to his request and wishes Jordan the best of luck in the future.”

Farmar, who spent a twomonth stint in Tel Aviv during the NBA lockout in 2011, said he would remain a fan of the club.

“I always wanted to come back here and both Maccabi and I expected and hoped things would turn out differently once I did,” he said. “I realized that in the current situation, it would be better for both Maccabi and myself to part ways. There is no one to blame for this situation. It’s part of life and definitely part of basketball.”

Meanwhile, Maccabi Ashdod and Ironi Ness Ziona joined Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Rishon Lezion in the State Cup semifinals on Sunday.

Ashdod beat Maccabi Kiryat Gat 91-79 on the road behind 26 points from Diante Garrett and 23 from Charles Thomas. Paul Delaney had 24 points for Kiryat Gat.

Ness Ziona beat Hapoel Ramat Gan/Givataim of the National League 91-79.

Fuquan Edwin had 25 points for the winners, with Yoad Beit Yosef netting 25 for the losers.

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