Hapoel Jerusalem continued to strengthen its roster over the weekend, signing transition-guard Dijon Thompson and forward Kevin Pinkney, just the latest moves of what has been quite a busy offseason for the top basketball club from the capital.
As recently as last week, Hapoel was facing serious financial problems, but after 32-year-old energy magnate Guma Aguiar promised to transfer the cash-strapped club $1.5 million for the coming season, coach Guy Goodes was given the green light to bolster his team.
Goodes has wasted no time and has added three Americans to the side in quick succession. Former Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon shooter Tre Simmons joined last week, and on Friday the club announced the signing of Thompson and Pinkney.
The 26-year-old Thompson, who is useful both as a shooting guard and small forward, played for Mariupol in Ukraine last season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.5 rebounds.
The 2.08-meter Pinkney, 28, played at Italian club Cantu last season and averaged 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Both players have had minimal NBAexperience, with Pinkney playing one game with the Boston Celtics in 2006/07, and Thompson suiting up for both the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks for a total of 16 contests from 2005-2007.
Jerusalem, which also signed American Leo Lyons earlier this summer, will now turn its focus to strengthening the Israeli core of its roster, with Yuval Naimi, Sharon Sasson and Uri Kukia the only significant locals on the team at the moment.