Omri Casspi 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Omri Casspi rejoined the Israel national team in training on Wednesday as he continues to wait for his future in the NBA to be resolved.
The 26-year-old Israeli is expected to be waived by the New Orleans Pelicans in the coming days after being traded to the franchise from the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
The Pelicans have Casspi under contract for another season, but they can waive him by August 5 and will likely do so even beforehand.
“I’ve spoken to people in New Orleans and I want to play this season because this is a very important year in my career,” said Casspi upon his return to Israel on Tuesday.
“I’ve reached a crossroads. I’m 26 and this is a very important year for me and I need to know what situation I am entering. I’m not sure that I will be entering the best situation in New Orleans.
“They have one of the best power forwards in the league in Anthony Davis and have Ryan Anderson coming off the bench and Tyreke Evans starting as small forward,” added Casspi.
“So there aren’t many minutes for me there. We both agree that I should go to a team where I will play.”
Casspi claimed he wasn’t frustrated at being traded and that he has already been in contact with several teams.
“I’m not disappointed. This is part of the business,” he said.
“They needed to move me for salary-cap reasons and that happens. When I become a free agent I’ll know a lot better where I might play. I have been talking to several teams. It is important for me to find a team where I will play and also be on a winning team.”
Casspi ruled out a return to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“I’ve always said that I would be happy to return to Maccabi in the future,” he explained. “However, it is hard to believe it will happen this season. I still have a lot more to give in the NBA.”
Hornets In other NBA news, following an all-night negotiating session, the Charlotte Hornets have come to an agreement to sign Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson.
Under terms of the agreement, Stephenson will make $9 million in 2014-15 and $9 million in 2015-16. Stephenson will get a slight raise in 2016-17 if the Hornets pick up the team option.
Stephenson fills an obvious need, as the Hornets were weak offensively at the shooting guard and small forward positions. The 6-foot-5 Stephenson had a breakthrough season statistically, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He also shot 49 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.
However, he has a quirky personality that seems to have limited his market when he became an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The Pacers had offered Stephenson $44 million over five seasons, and reportedly did not come off that number. Stephenson thought he was worth considerably more.MCT contributed to this report.