(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Omri Casspi was granted his wish on Thursday night, being traded to the
Cleveland Cavaliers from the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings will receive
forward/ center J.J Hickson while also trading a protected first-round pick in
the 2012 NBA draft along with Casspi, with the deal being completed hours before
the collective bargaining agreement was set to expire, with all indications that
the NBA will lock out its players beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
23-year-old small forward, who made history by becoming the first Israeli to
play in the NBA after being taken 23rd overall in the 2009 draft, had voiced his
frustrations with not being given enough playing time at the end of last season
and is delighted to be making a fresh start in Cleveland.
“I want to
thank the organization – Sacramento Kings for the great opportunity to play in
NBA,” Casspi tweeted late Thursday. “It been an amazing two years and I have
memories that I’ll never forget.
Kings fans always been great to me and
I’m so grateful for the amazing two years.
“Starting a new path in my
journey and I’m so excited to be a Cavalier. I’m ready for the challenge and
can’t wait to get to know my teammates and my new home. Great things are ahead,
Cavs Fans!!!” After exceeding all expectations in his rookie season, averaging
10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 77 games, starting in 31 of them, Casspi saw his
production drop in 2010/11, receiving fewer and fewer opportunities as the
The Israeli suffered a drop in almost all of his
numbers, averaging 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, playing in 71 games, starting in
Casspi completely fell out of favor with coach Paul Westphal as the
season drew to a close, scoring a total of 10 points in less than 38 minutes
during the final 13 games of the campaign.
Casspi let his feelings of
discontent be known by attacking the Kings in a column, writing among other
things that he hopes to find himself in a team “that appreciates me as a player
and a person, a team that plays like a team.”
He should get plenty of
chances to prove his worth in Cleveland, which is desperate to fill a void at
the small forward position.
The Cavaliers had the second worst record in
the NBA last season at 19-63, losing a record 26 games in a row at one
“This is another step in our on-going process to shape and
position our team and roster for future growth and a platform for sustained
success,” said Cavaliers GM Chris Grant.
“We’re excited to add a young,
talented, toughminded player like Omri, that we feel is a good fit for our team
and can help improve our perimeter group, while also being able to obtain
another important asset with the additional first round draft pick.”