It would be a big deal for a guy who grew up in LA or Chicago or Cleveland to make his first trip ever overseas during this lockout in an attempt to earn a professional basketball playing paycheck in a foreign land he's never roamed before. That might come with some innate challenges. It's another thing altogether, however, if you're Omri Casspi and you decide to head back home to be near friends, family, and familiar surroundings as you work your way through this lockout by earning $40,000 per month in your native country of Israel. That kinda seems to make more sense than the former, especially if it's also playing on a team you've already played for before.
As is the case for Casspi, who is reportedly rejoining Maccabi Tel Aviv for the duration of the lockout; this according to The Jerusalem Post yesterday:
"Israeli NBA star Omri Casspi is returning to Maccabi Tel Aviv, David Federman, one of the club's owners said in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday. According to Federman, the majority of Casspi's contract has been negotiated and he will be joining Maccabi for the upcoming season, granted the NBA labor dispute continues and the 2011-2012 NBA season is delayed or canceled all together as many suspect.
"We are really in advanced negotiations with Casspi and for a number of weeks we have been contemplating how to act. Assuming Omri wants to play in Europe, it will be with us," Federman said.
Maccabi Tel Aviv offered Casspi $40,000 a month until the NBA work dispute is resolved. Casspi is under contract with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers but would be allowed to sign with a European club as long as the NBA owners continue to lockout players until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed by the parties."
There isn't any American player who can make $40,000 per month while working out in his old neighborhood surrounded by a support system of friends and family for the duration of this lockout anywhere in the United States. I think Omri is smart to take advantage of an opportunity like this, and I also like how eager he seems to get back on the hardwood. Hopefully he can do so here in Cleveland sooner than later.
Photo Credit: JWeekly.com