There are going to be a lot of NBA players looking to go overseas and a lot of players are going to be surprised that there are not a lot of spots.
But a few guys are going to get spots. And Cavs forward Omri Casspi (remember the Kings traded him on draft night) is one of them — he’s going back to his home country to play for the team he was with before coming to the NBA
The Plain Dealer has learned #Cavsswingman Omri Casspi has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He will join Israeli team in several weeks.
Casspi was in negotiations with Tel Aviv back in August but the deal never came together as he decided to ride out the lockout. Instead Tel Aviv picked up Jordan Farmar in the interim, but now they will have Casspi back, too. Tel Aviv, one of the powers of the Israeli league and European basketball, reportedly have been in some conversations with Kevin Durant, although it’s hard to see that coming together now. Another name on that team now you might remember is recent Duke guard Jon Scheyer.
There are a handful of NBA players heading to Israel when the lockout drags into the NBA season: Jordan Farmar and Omri Casspi are the big names. (Note, I’m not even saying “if” games are lost anymore because it seems unavoidable.)
But they may be joined by a bigger name.
In an article at the New York Newsday where Roger Mason Jr. parrots the union lines about reasons he would play overseas (and it might be a smart move for him), Alan Hahn throws in this note:
It’s also an easier decision for (Mason), a free agent, than some of his Knicks teammates, especially Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the latter of whom, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, has recently been contacted by a different team from the Israel league.
If Stoudemire were to play overseas, a team like Maccabi Tel Aviv would make some sense (that is where Farmar and Casspi are playing). It’s one of the powerhouse teams of European basketball and one that has taken on NBA players under contract.
But Stoudemire is a bigger name — and a bigger salary — than either of the other signings. And for him it is a bigger risk because if he were to get injured playing overseas the Knicks could void his deal. Remember, Stoudemire is a guy who has already had microfracture surgery and major eye surgery. He would be taking a risk and getting insurance on his contract would be expensive.
But, the talk is out there.
Report: Omri Casspi near deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv
The Cavaliers forward played for the Israeli club before coming to the NBA and now is headed back there during the lockout, reports the Jerusalem Post (via SLAM).
Israeli NBA star Omri Casspi is returning to Maccabi Tel Aviv, David Federman, one of the club’s owners said in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday…
“We are really in advanced negotiations with Casspi and for a number of weeks we have been contemplating how to act. Assuming Omri wants to play in Europe, it will be with us,” Federman said.
Casspi would have an opt-out to return to the NBA if and when the lockout is resolved. Like the Farmar signing, this makes some sense for Maccabi Tel Aviv — Casspi would fit well with the team, he knows what to expect and he would help both at the gate and on the court. He reportedly would receive $40,000 a month to play there (well below the $1.3 million he would make next season in the NBA).
Casspi has played for the Kings the past couple seasons. He was traded to the Cavaliers on draft day.
This is a risk for Maccabi Tel Aviv — if the lockout is solved during the season they would lose two key players. They have already lost Jeremy Pargo, the quick guard who played for them last season but wants a shot in the NBA after he had a breakout year in Israel last season, he told ESPN.
Farmar, Ilyasova, Wright three latest to sign in Europe
David Stern is so, so concerned about how players signing overseas might impact the players union. He is such an empathetic guy. Don’t think there’s anything self-centered about his comments at all. Nope. He’s not saying that hoping to divide the union. It’s only out of genuine, heart-felt concern.
But outside of D-Will, only one real star has signed overseas. The rest have been rank and file guys, and three more happened to ink deals today (four if you want to count Patty Mills.
Jordan Farmar made a last minute change and will sign with Maccabi Tel Aviv to play during the lockout. Just 24 hours ago we told you how Farmar was negotiating with Maccabi Haifa, but it’s hard to turn down Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Yankees of the Israeli league, a team constantly competing for the EuroLeague title. Haifa finished ninth in the 10-team league last year. He’ll be a hit as the American star and a Jew playing in Israel. He also has an opt-out clause to return once the lockout ends.