With NBA deal in place, Farmar soon returning to US

Maccabi Tel Aviv fans got their last look at Jordan Farmar at Nokia Arena on Saturday night.

Jordan Farmar 311 (R) (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Jordan Farmar 311 (R)
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv fans got their last look at Jordan Farmar at Nokia Arena on Saturday night when the yellow-and-blue improved to 8-0 in the Adriatic League with a 96-89 victory over Cedevita Zagreb.
Farmar is expected to return to the US sometime next week after the NBA and its players reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement that paves the way for a 66-game season starting on Christmas Day.
The departure of the New Jersey Nets guard will leave a massive void at Maccabi, with Farmar leading the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes in the Euroleague this season.
“This has been an experience which changed my life,” Farmar said on Saturday. “I feel like I’m a better person and a better player for this experience.”
Farmar ended Saturday’s game with 15 points and 13 assists and said he would miss Maccabi and Israel, although he believes the team will be able to manage without him.
“I had a great time, I’m glad to go out on top,” Farmar added. “I’m happy to be going back. I love these guys. They really hold a special place in my heart and I hope they feel the same about me. It’s a special place and a special organization.
“I have a lot of hopes and great expectations for them. It’s not just me out there. It is a group of guys who work very hard every day. I think they are going to be just fine.”
Saturday’s developments in the NBA also ensured that Omri Casspi will not join Maccabi in January, as had been previously reported.
Maccabi got Saturday’s encounter off to a surprisingly slow start, with a Levour Warren three-pointer opening a 13-4 Zagreb lead after three minutes.
Cedevita led by as many as 11 points (24-13) at one stage, but Guy Pnini finally broke out of his scoring slump in the second quarter, hitting every shot he took in the first 20 minutes to finish the half with 19 points and give Maccabi a 54-44 lead at the break.
However, Zagreb erased the deficit in the third quarter and regained the lead early in the fourth frame (75-74), only for Maccabi to secure the win with a 10-2 run, allowing coach David Blatt to give Farmar a standing ovation as he left the Nokia floor.
Pnini led Tel Aviv with 26 points while Richard Hendrix scored 15.
Farmar is expected to play for Tel Aviv when it visits Maccabi Haifa in BSL action on Monday, and with the team’s next games in the Euroleague and Adriatic League also being on the road, it is likely he has played for Maccabi at Nokia for the last time.
On Saturday, Hapoel Holon hosted Maccabi Ashdod in the BSL.
On Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion welcomes the winless Barak Netanya, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil visits Bnei Hasharon and league-leader Ironi Ashkelon faces BC Habika’a, which released star forward Danilo Pinnock last week after he failed to tell the team that he was questioned by police in suspicion of possession of marijuana.