Omri Casspi, the first Israeli-born basketball player to make the NBA, denied Monday that his contract is being bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a reporter with Fox 8 news in Cleveland tweeted late Sunday.
According to the report, the decision to leave the Cavs was mutual but Casspi’s agent said he would remain and fight for his place on the court.
The forward spent only one lockout-shortened year in Cleveland and reportedly fell out of favor of coach Byron Scott, who halfway through the lackluster season said Casspi was having a hard time learning the playbook.
Casspi entered the NBA as a low first round pick by the Sacramento Kings in 2009, to much local fanfare. He spent two years in California, including time as a starter, before being traded to Cleveland.
Though only a modest success in the world’s top basketball league, Casspi was a perpetual fan favorite with Jewish communities in the United States and Canada, whether at home or on the road.
“The Jewish community — wherever we go, west or east — there are a lot of people with flags,” Casspi told the Times of Israel earlier this year. “They come to support me, invite me for holidays.”