Casspi raring to get going for ‘first choice’ Rockets

Omri Casspi has yet to be introduced as a Houston Rocket, but he confirmed what everybody already knew when he tweeted last week: “New beginnings. New adventure. Rockets!”

July 14, 2013 00:37
2 minute read.
Omri Casspi is ready for the Houston Rockets.

Omri Casspi 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Omri Casspi has yet to be introduced as a Houston Rocket, but he confirmed what everybody already knew when he tweeted last week: “New beginnings. New adventure. Rockets!”

Despite averaging career-lows of 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in the mere 43 games in which he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, Houston remained admirers of the Israeli forward and once the Rockets landed their top free agent target, all-star Dwight Howard, they quickly reached an agreement with the 25-year-old.

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“When my agent and I talked before July 1, we discussed everything. They asked me my opinion, and I told them from the beginning the No. 1 team that I want to get to is the Houston Rockets,” Casspi told Jonathan Feigen of website Ultimate Rockets. “When Houston called, for me it was a done deal. I wanted to come here from day one. There were other teams calling and asking. There might have been a better offer financially. But the opportunity to come here under coach McHale and with a great organization and winning team is better than anything. I’m looking forward to it.”

Casspi has been craving for an opportunity to play for a potential contender and he will finally get his chance in Houston after four years with two of the league’s worst teams, the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The addition of Howard to a roster which already includes all-star James Harden as well as Jeremy Lin and up-and-coming forward Chandler Parsons, should see Casspi finally experience the NBA playoffs while hopefully playing an important role off the bench.

“I feel like I can bring a lot of things to the team to help this team win,” added Casspi, who was in Houston for his physicals on Thursday and Friday. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be in a great organization with the best coaching staff, with coach [Kevin] McHale, now with Dwight [Howard] and James [Harden] and the rest of the guys here. I feel like the style of game can really fit my game.”

After four years as the first and only Israeli in the NBA, Casspi will be joined in the league next season by Gal Mekel, who signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

With another Israeli now in the league and four years of experience in the NBA under his belt, Casspi will be entering the 2013/14 season in a far more composed state of mind.

“[Pressure] was there early, my first year, second year, but not anymore,” Casspi said.

“I’m going into my fifth year in the league now, knowing what the game is all about, understanding what I need to do on the court and off the court to be in the best shape I can be. We’ve been there already. I feel like I’m in a total different page in my career now. I can compete on the court.”

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