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Israeli star inks deal with NBA champions Golden State Warriors

Omri Casspi tours team’s practice facility and receives new jersey before returning home to Israel

Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi is shown his new jersey for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after signing with the team on July 12, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi is shown his new jersey for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after signing with the team on July 12, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi officially signed with the NBA champions Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, bringing his talents to the Bay Area in the hopes of becoming the first Israeli to win a NBA championship ring.

Having joined the team, Casspi toured the Warriors’ practice facility in Oakland on Wednesday, where he had the opportunity to see his new number 18 jersey.

Casspi later spoke with children on the squad’s practice court, where he said he looked forward “to be in a position to help this team win basketball games and to win championships.”

Although the team did not release the terms of his contract after the signing, Casspi’s deal is said to have signed for the veteran minimum of $2.1 million.

According to an ESPN report last week, Casspi turned down a $4.5 million deal from an unnamed squad, preferring to join the Warriors with the hopes of contending for an National Basketball Association championship.

After Wednesday’s tour of the Warriors facilities, the 29-year-old Holon native returned to Israel to train with the Jewish state’s squad for the upcoming FIBA EuroBasket tournament, the local Mercury News daily reported.

The Warriors are the sixth team Casspi has played for since he became the first Israeli to play in the NBA in 2009.

Casspi had a nomadic 2017 season. In March he was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Timberwolves, his third team in the space of a month and fifth since joining the NBA.

Casspi had been waived at the end of February by the New Orleans Pelicans — his second stint with the team — after breaking his thumb in his debut with the club. Days earlier he had been involved in a trade from the Sacramento Kings that sent All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball over Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP)
Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball over Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP)

The 6-9 forward joined the Kings as a first-round draft pick and played there for two years. He has also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets.

Casspi was a member of the championship Maccabi Tel Aviv team in Israel before making himself available for the NBA draft.

JTA contributed to this report.

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