Omri Casspi, the first Israeli-born player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, will don a Houston Rockets uniform for the next two years in a $2 million deal. The Houston Rockets are the six foot nine inches tall forward’s third NBA team, following the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Casspi was born and raised in the town of Yavne, south of Tel Aviv. He made his professional debut as a 17-year-old with Israel’s basketball powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2005-06 season. Casspi’s best season in the NBA so far was his rookie season in 2009-2010 when he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Kings.
Casspi will be joined by a second Israeli-born player in the state of Texas. Point guard Gal Mekel, 25, signed a three-year, $2.3 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
“Gal is a smart player. He picks up things quick,” Monte Mathis, the Mavericks’ summer league head coach told the Star-Telegram. “I’m just trying to get him to understand our defensive schemes and things like that, and being a guy that causes problems off pick-and-rolls offensively.”