Omri Casspi in Maccabi TA uniform 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel will have to manage without its star player at the upcoming European Championships after it was announced on Tuesday that Omri Casspi will miss the EuroBasket tournament in Lithuania due to injury.
Casspi went down with a knee injury in training two weeks ago, with an MRI revealing that he has a slight tear in his left knee ligaments.
There was some hope that he will be able to recover in time to play at least some part in Lithuania.
But following a conversation with national team coach Arik Shivek on Tuesday in which the player said that he doesn’t feel that his knee has recuperated and that he will need at least another two weeks to regain fitness, Shivek decided to release him from the roster.
The news of Casspi being ruled out of the European Championships came just hours after he announced that he would not be joining Maccabi Tel Aviv until the NBA lockout ends.
All the indications were that Maccabi fans would realize their dream of seeing Casspi play for the yellowand- blue once more in the coming season.
Israel’s only NBA player had repeatedly expressed his wish to play for
Maccabi until the NBA lockout ends, with Tel Aviv co-owner David
Federman even claiming last week that personal terms had been agreed
with the Cleveland Cavaliers forward.
However, the 23-year-old revealed on Monday night that he will not be
joining Tel Aviv after all due to income tax issues, although he still
plans to play in Europe for as long as the lockout lasts and may even
end up facing Maccabi in Euroleague action this season.
“Unfortunately, a number of significant problems, like income tax, have
stopped me from joining the team at which I wanted to play the most,”
Casspi wrote on his Facebook page.
“I would like to thank David Federman and Shimon Mizrahi for their
honesty and understanding throughout the negotiations. I have a lot of
respect for them.
“Thanks to Maccabi fans for their love and at the moment I am just as
sad as they are. I’m sure that our paths will meet once more sometime in
the future. In the meantime, I’m looking into several offers from
abroad and I will soon announce which team I will be joining.”
Casspi has received several offers from the continent, including from
Russian clubs Spartak St. Petersburg and Khimki Moscow, but the current
favorite to secure his services looks to be France’s Asvel Basket Lyon
The main attraction in Villeurbanne will be the prospect of teaming up with San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker.
Parker is a co-owner of Villeurbanne and he plans to play for the team
assuming the NBA lockout doesn’t come to a surprising early end.
Casspi and Parker, who share the services of agent Steven Heumann, have
spoken several times over the past week about the possibility of playing
together at Villeurbanne, although nothing has been finalized as of