Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, is playing in the NBA no more: This weekend, Casspi’s team, the Golden State Warriors, announced that it was letting him go after only 53 games.
“It was difficult to go ahead and go through with it because he has been with us for all season long,” said the team’s coach, Steve Kerr. “We love Omri and what he brought to the team—a great teammate. It was difficult to sit with him and tell him we were going to do this.”
Because he was waived so soon before the playoffs, Casspi will not be able to find another team this season, and his future in the league remains uncertain.
Had this been the only piece of bad news to hit Casspi this week, dayenu. But because he was waived by the Warriors at the very last minute, Casspi missed out on a major honor back home in Israel: Lighting one of the ceremonial torches in the country’s official Independence Day celebration.
Just before Passover, according to the Israeli press, a government official contacted Casspi and asked whether he would like to fly home for the ceremony, later this month, and light a torch, one of the highest honors bestowed on Israeli civilians. Casspi replied that he would be delighted, but would need his team’s permission. Because the Warriors weren’t sure whether or not they were going to waive Casspi, permission was not granted, and the offer was withdrawn. Here’s hoping that the 2018/2019 season treats Casspi better.