(photo credit: REUTERS)
New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar will begin the 2011/12 season as a member of
Maccabi Tel Aviv after agreeing on Wednesday to join the yellow-and- blue until
the NBA lockout ends.
Maccabi had said that it has no intention in
signing NBA players that will likely leave the team midway through the
However, it decided to make an exception for Farmar, an
American-Jew with strong connections to Israel, after he approached Maccabi in
the hope of playing for the yellow-and-blue.
“I’m very excited to be
coming to Tel Aviv,” Farmer said. “My step-father is a citizen of Tel Aviv and I
spent time there as a child.”
Despite his original reluctance to sign a
player that will probably not be around for the business end of the season,
coach David Blatt conceded on Wednesday that he simply couldn’t say no to
“This is a very exciting and special signing,” Blatt said. “Due
to the unusual situation with the NBA lockout, players of the highest level have
suddenly found themselves available. It is true that we promised ourselves that
we wouldn’t get involved in such an adventure, but this is an extraordinary and
“I must say that in all my years as a coach, Farmar is one of
the more special players I have met. The most important thing is that Jordan has
a strong connection with the country, having deep Jewish and Israeli roots, and
we see him one day being a permanent and leading player at Maccabi once he ends
his impressive contract in the NBA.
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“We remain loyal to our vision of
bringing the top Israeli and Jewish players to Maccabi.”
seasons at UCLA, Farmar was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 26th
pick overall in the 2006 NBA draft.
In his four seasons with the Lakers,
the 24-year-old helped the team to two NBA championships (2009-2010), averaging
9.1 points and 2.7 assists in 20.6 minutes on court in his best season in Los
Angeles in 2007/08.
Last summer, Farmar left the Lakers for a three-year,
$12 million contract with the New Jersey Nets, at which he became a key player,
averaging 9.6 points and 5.0 assists in 24.6 minutes.
Farmar will return
to the Nets once the NBA lockout ends, but Maccabi is delighted to have him on
board for as long as possible.
“Jordan approached us asking to play in
Israel because of his special connection with the country,” Maccabi chairman
Shimon Mizrahi said.
“We spoke to him several times and we were very
impressed with his genuine wish to play in Israel, both this season and in the
future. We are delighted to have signed this wonderful player and personality.”
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