NBA’s Omri Casspi let go by Memphis Grizzlies
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NBA’s Omri Casspi let go by Memphis Grizzlies

‘Didn’t go as we all envisioned but the team and city embraced me,’ Israeli basketball player says after being cut early for 2nd straight season amid injury

Memphis Grizzlies forward Omri Casspi dunks during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings on on January 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Memphis Grizzlies forward Omri Casspi dunks during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings on on January 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Omri Casspi was waived Thursday by the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, marking the second consecutive year the Israeli basketball player has been released before the end of the season.

Casspi, the first ever Israeli to ever play in the NBA, appeared in 36 games with the Grizzlies this season before recently undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus. It was not clear if he would recover in time to return this season.

His release was one of a series of roster moves by the Grizzlies as the league’s trade deadline expired Thursday.

“Didn’t go as we all envisioned but the team and city embraced me and my family as one of their own. thank you Memphis,” Casspi wrote on his Twitter account.

Israeli basketball player Omri Casspi (R) receives a 2018 NBA Championship ring from Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on November 5, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The Israeli forward was signed by the Grizzlies during the off season after spending last season with the Golden State Warriors. Due to injury, he was left off the Warriors’ roster for the 2019 postseason, which the team capped with a second consecutive NBA Finals win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Despite being but cut for the playoffs, Casspi was given a championship ring in November when the Grizzlies played in Oakland against the Warriors.

Casspi, 30, is a 10-year NBA veteran and has also played for the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Before being drafted by the Kings in 2009, Casspi played for Israeli Basketball Premier League powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he helped the squad win a league title in the 2008-9 season.

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