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From Tel Aviv to Texas: Israeli Stars Casspi and Mekel To Both Play In Lone Star State

Gal Mekel has officially been drafted by Dallas; Omri Casspi to sign with Houston

By: Daniel Koren
Published: July 11th, 2013 in News » World
Omri Casspi (left) and Gal Mekel

After officially being signed to the Dallas Mavericks yesterday, Gal Mekel, soon to the second Israeli to ever play in the NBA, is gearing up to leave his native Israel. But at least he won’t feel too far away from home, with fellow Israeli Omri Casspi, who is looking to sign a deal with the Houston Rockets, to play a few cities beside him.

Looks like Israelis have just found the teams they’ll be rooting for during the upcoming 2013 NBA season.

The 25-year-old, 6″3 Mekel lead underdogs Maccabi Haifa to their first Israeli Super League championship last season, over Tel Aviv Maccabi no less, the Miami Heat of Israel’s basketball league. Mekel averaged 13.3 points and 5.4 assists with Maccabi last year, and won league MVP honors.

Mekel signed a three-year deal with Dallas, and will receive the minimum salary available for rookies, approximately $2.3 million. As the Mavericks chose to waive their option to sign two of their free agent guards, it seems hopeful for him to receive a lot of playing time.

Dallas has also just signed rookies Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.

Mekel did most of his interviews in Hebrew yesterday.” For every basketball player, the dream is to play in the NBA,” he told reporters. “I had a very, very good season last year. I’m going to give everything I have to make this dream come true.”

Omri Casspi, the first ever Israeli to ball in the big leagues, will reportedly sign a two-year contract with the Houston Rockets, joining James Harden, and the newly acquired Dwight Howard.

Howard had just signed to the Rockets after a not so lavish year with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 6″9 Casspi is expected to sign a contract later this week for $2 million, following a mediocre year playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 4 points and 2.7 rebounds last season.

Casspi, who has accumulated quite a bit of fanfare from Jewish and Israeli audiences alike, looks to bring the crowd to Texas, which will now host not one but two professional Israeli athletes.

Related articles: NBA, Gal Mekel, Omri Casspi, Gal Mekel, Houston Rockets, Dallas Stars, Israel NBA, Maccabi Haifa
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