Omri Casspi is close to a Maccabi Tel Aviv return

David Federman says NBA star close to signing with Israeli powerhouse; will play with club for duration of NBA lockout.

Omri Casspi in Maccabi TA uniform 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Omri Casspi in Maccabi TA uniform 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Omri Casspi is on the verge of rejoining Maccabi Tel Aviv for the 2011/12 season, with coowner David Federman announcing on Sunday that personal terms have been agreed with the Cleveland Cavaliers forward, who is set to sign until the NBA lockout ends.
The 23-year-old Israeli would be the jewel in the crown of Maccabi’s roster, which already boasts 14 senior players, including New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, former Duke star Jon Scheyer and Greek legend Theodoros Papaloukas, who was signed on Saturday.
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“We are in advanced negotiations with Casspi and we have basically agreed all the financial terms,” Federman told Army radio on Sunday.
“Assuming he decides to play in Europe during the NBA lockout, he will do so at Maccabi.”
Casspi is currently nursing a knee injury and is hoping to recover in time to play for the Israel national team in the EuroBasket tournament, which begins on August 31 in Lithuania.
With Maccabi deciding to play in the Adriatic League as well as the BSL and Euroleague this season, coach David Blatt demanded to build a deep roster that will ensure his team will still be fresh when it arrives at the closing stages of the campaign.
Tel Aviv held on to the core of its roster from last season, including Jeremy Pargo, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Lior Eliyahu, David Blu and Guy Pnini, before adding six new players, with the last and seventh expected to be Casspi.
Scheyer, Shawn James, Devin Smith, Yogev Ohayon, Farmar and Papaloukas were all signed, giving Blatt three quality options in each position.
Both Farmar and Papaloukas approached Maccabi in the hope of joining the team, with each agreeing to take a significant pay-cut from what they are used to earning.
“No one knew anything about the negotiations and this is a big step for me,” said the 34-year-old Papaloukas, who will be earning in the region of $500,000 after making an estimated 3.5 million euros at Greek club Olympiacos last season.
“I wanted to continue playing at the highest levels in Europe and there is no better place to do that than with Maccabi.”