(photo credit: REUTERS)
When Omri Casspi joined the Golden State Warriors last summer it sounded almost too good to be true.
But the 29-year-old Israeli forward has been living the dream this season, enjoying the experience of a lifetime by sharing the court with four future Hall of Famers at the reigning NBA champion, even though he has mostly been playing a minor role on what is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball teams of all time.
Casspi agreed to a one-year deal for a veteran’s minimum of $2.1 million, turning down more lucrative offers in order to finally take part in the playoffs.
No other player in the league has made as many regular season appearances without playing in the postseason.
The first Israeli in the NBA is still hoping to lift the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy come June, but all his dreams could go up in smoke in a moment’s notice, with the possibility of Casspi being cut from the team to make space for another player being discussed in the US media, and possibly also in the Warriors front office, as a real option over the past week.
Casspi impressively carved out a role for himself during December, averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds over 19.5 minutes per game.
However, he took a back seat during January, ending the first month of the year with averages of 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds over 12.6 minutes after losing his place in the rotation and suffering from minor injuries.
He didn’t manage more than two points in Golden State’s first five games of February before scoring a season-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
However, Casspi dropped out of the rotation in the subsequent month, scoring six total points over a 10-game stretch.
He managed 15 points and seven rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers last week, but reinjured his ankle two days later and hasn’t played for the team since.
With guard Quinn Cook impressing over the last week in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Casspi is in danger of finding himself without a team when Golden State announces its roster for the playoffs on April 10.
Casspi is doing his best to ignore the speculation.
“First of all, that’s you guys talking,” Casspi said to reporters Wednesday. “I don’t get that feeling from our organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.
“I feel like the team needs me and I know what I can bring to the team and what I need to bring to the table,” he added. “But my focus is on getting healthy and playing at the end of the day.”