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The NBA to Get Its Second Israeli Player?

Reports swirl that Maccabi Haifa’s Gal Mekel will join the Dallas Mavericks

Adam Chandler
July 01, 2013
Gal Mekel (center). (Getty)
Gal Mekel (center). (Getty)

The collective American heartbreak following the San Antonio Spurs loss to Miami Heat in the NBA Finals hasn’t even begun to heal yet and already we’re talking about next season. The Brooklyn Nets have inherited Boston’s best elderly players in exchange for a pu pu platter, Dwight Howard–the Mahmoud Abbas of NBA centers–is threatening to jilt the Los Angeles Lakers and befoul the Houston Rockets with his subpar play. And Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, has been released by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a season in which his playing time was severely limited.

But fear not. Those seeking a silver lining have found it in the form of Gal Mekel, formerly of Maccabi Haifa, who is said to have verbally committed to the Dallas Mavericks, the middle child of Texas professional sports.

To clinch the deal with Mekel, amid serious interest from Milwaukee, Toronto, Atlanta, Indiana and Memphis, sources say Dallas has agreed to give a multiyear guaranteed contract to the 25-year-old, who fast-tracked himself as an NBA prospect after a breakout season in his native country in which he led unfancied Maccabi Haifa to the Israeli championship over perennial powerhouse Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

Mekel arrived in the U.S. shortly after Haifa’s title and, according to sources, immediately had a strong audition for the Bucks. He was similarly impressive in a workout for the Mavericks last week, sources said, before proceeding to an audition with the Hawks.

The six-foot-three guard is 25, played college hoops at Wichita State, and stands a good chance to make the team since Dallas only has six players under contract as they too foolishly pursue the Potemkin Village of basketball skill that is Dwight Howard. Watch Mekel game a little bit. He’s got a good outside shot. It’ll make you happy.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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