Gal Mekel, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, on November 29, 2013. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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New Orleans Pelicans Waive Gal Mekel

The NBA’s second Israeli player is left without a team once again

Stephanie Butnick
December 19, 2014
Gal Mekel, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, on November 29, 2013. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Gal Mekel, the second Israeli to play in the NBA, is once again without a team. Dropped by the Dallas Mavericks after only one season at the end of October, the Tel Aviv-born point guard seemed to still have a few promising options. In early November, though, his deal with the Indiana Pacers fell through at the eleventh hour because of a visa technicality, and he was once again a free agent. Earlier this month, though, he was signed by the New Orleans Pelicans, and it looked like Mekel was finally getting settled in the NBA. Today, though, the Pelicans announced they had waived Mekel, just two weeks after he joined the team.

As Raphael Gellar wrote in October, after Mekel’s departure from Dallas, going back to Israel and playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv—or even Hapoel Jerusalem, the team part-owned by New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire—remained a possible fallback plan. “Although it’s unlikely that Mekel will return to Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv is arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world outside of the NBA,” Gellar contended. “If Mekel had a spectacular season with Maccabi, that could improve his stock and help him return to the NBA.”

Mekel’s next move—whether it’s being shuffled to another NBA team or heading back to the Holy Land—remains up in the air.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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