(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yotam Halperin will play for Maccabi Tel Aviv next season after signing a new threeyear contract with the team on Tuesday.
Halperin grabbed most of the attention at Maccabi's season-opening press conference Tuesday evening in which all of Tel Aviv's new players and coaches were introduced.
The 22-year-old guard was the subject of intensive speculation in recent weeks that claimed he may be joining the Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA. However, Halperin ended the uncertainty about his future on Tuesday with the signing of his new contract.
"I'm coming home," he said at the press conference. "I've decided that this is the best place for me and therefore I'm staying. The NBA remains a dream, at least for this season, and now I'm only thinking of achieving success with Maccabi."
Halperin is the latest part of Maccabi's rebuilding process, with the team replacing its entire coaching staff and adding five new players.
One of the new players is American guard Will Bynum.
"There is a good atmosphere in the club. There are excellent players here," Bynum said Tuesday. "There is pressure everywhere, but I'm ready. I want to win wherever I play."
Coach Neven Spahija was selected as the man to move the club forward, and he will need to cope with the huge expectations right from the start.
"I'm not asking for patience because I know I won't get it," Spahija said at Tuesday's press conference. "My goal is to prepare the team the best way I can and win games."
The 43-year-old Croatian claimed that he had not decided on a particular style of play for the team, saying: "We will see what we have after the training camp and then decide how we will play. I hope to emulate the offense Maccabi played last year. However, I would like to improve the defense."
Maccabi will fly out to Slovenia on Wednesday for a 10-day preseason training camp. It will play three NBA teams in its preseason games. The first game will be against the San Antonio Spurs on October 8 in Koln, Germany. Nine days later Maccabi will play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the US, and two days later will face the Toronto Raptors in Canada.