NBA & Local Hoops: Casspi withdraws from draft

Israeli failed to receive a guarantee that he would be selected in the first round.

omri casspi 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
omri casspi 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Omri Casspi withdrew from the NBA draft late Monday night after failing to receive a guarantee that he would be selected in the first round. The 19-year-old forward spent the last two weeks in the US working out for 10 NBA franchises and was hoping to become the first Israeli to play in the NBA by being selected in the first round of the rookie draft on June 26. Casspi chose, however, to pull out at the last possible moment because he was concerned that he might only be selected in the second round, severely damaging his chances of eventually being a part of an NBA team. All first round picks receive a guaranteed mulit-million dollar contract. This is not the case for those picked in the second round. "Of course there's some disappointment, but I made a big effort and I think that overall I did a good job," Casspi said. "It's tough for the NBA teams to give guarantees because this is a very deep draft with excellent players and no team wants to limit its options by committing to me. I will now rest for a few days so that I'll be ready for the national team and the start of next season." Three Israeli's have previously been selected in the draft, but none managed to get onto an active NBA roster. Doron Sheffer was selected 36th in the 1996 draft by the Los Angels Clippers, but was never handed a contract by the team. Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin were picked 44th and 53rd respectively 10 years after Sheffer in 2006, but likewise have yet to get a chance to play for an NBA team. "I'm certain Casspi would have been selected in the first round, but he chose to take a brave decision and avoid any risks," the player's agent, Guy Harel, said. "His situation in next year's draft will be substantially better. This was a difficult decision which was only taken at the last moment. I'm certain that this is nothing more than a slight delay."