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Yuval Naimi of Hapoel Jerusalem 311.(Photo by: Haim Tzah/Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Naimi leaves Hap J’lem for Russia
Hapoel Jerusalem’s biggest symbol in recent years has left the club, with Yuval Naimi signing with Russian team.
Hapoel Jerusalem’s biggest symbol in recent years has left the club, with Yuval Naimi announcing on Friday that he has signed for Russian side BC Triumph Lyubertsy Moscow Region.

The 26-year-old Israel international came through the Jerusalem youth system and starred for the team in the past four seasons. He decided to leave his home club for a lucrative offer estimated to be around $350,000 a season after tax.

“I would like to thank Hapoel Jerusalem for a great time and for the love and support I was given,” said Naimi, who made his breakthrough at Ironi Ashkelon in the 2007/08 season while on loan from Jerusalem.

“I wish the club all the best and I’m certain I will be able to embark on a new course and further my career.”

Naimi averaged 11.8 points and 4.2 assists in BSL action for Hapoel last season and his clutch baskets will be surly missed by the team’s fans, which idolized him.

He has long been rumored to be considering a move abroad and his decision to accept Moscow Region’s offer is likely related to the turmoil currently engulfing the club.

Legendary chairman Danny Klein, Naimi’s brother-in-law, has announced that he will be leaving the club after 17 years, sending in a letter requesting the money he believes he is owed according to his contract.

As a result, owner Guma Aguiar, who purchased a 60 percent stake of the club last September after agreeing to transfer it $1.75 million for three seasons, offered to sell the team.

The colorful American is concerned he may have to pay Klein with a sum reaching millions of shekels, and with main sponsor Migdal also already declaring that it will be reducing its backing, Aguiar finds himself in a very awkward situation.

Klein may still decide to stay at the club if his requests are met, but at least for the time being, Jerusalem’s future remains shrouded in doubt.
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