Casspi: Cleveland Provides a Great Opportunity

 When the Sacramento Kings re-acquired swingman John Salmons, Omri Casspi had a feeling his days could be numbered.  When he got the call that his NBA career would continue on in Cleveland, the 6-foot-9-inch small forward was understandably greeted with a feeling of excitement.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Casspi said roughly one hour after hearing the news of his trade.  “I get to start a new wave in my basketball career. Cleveland is a wonderful city with great fans.  It’s a great opportunity.”

Casspi was already relegated to a reserve role in the wake of Sacramento’s addition of shooting guard Marcus Thornton last season. Add in Donte Green, Francisco Garcia and the recently added Salmons, and things were understandably getting cumbersome for the 23-year-old. In turn, Casspi saw a drop in his minutes per game as well as his statistics overall; a disappointment compared to a rookie season where he averaged 14.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 three-pointers per-36 minutes.

“I hope to find myself in a team that appreciates me as a player and a person, a team that plays like a team,” Casspi told an Israeli website back in April. Fast forward almost three months and his wishes were granted as he is a near certainty to step in and start at small forward for the Cavaliers.

Described as a tough and nasty player by Cavaliers GM Chris Grant, Casspi prefers to classify himself as a player who flourishes in a team-centric atmosphere. While he has yet to talk to head coach Byron Scott, Casspi is well aware of the style offense Scott prefers to one and feels he could flourish given the ball movement and overall motion that is involved.

Despite playing basketball several thousand miles from Cleveland over the past two seasons, Casspi was made aware of the Cavaliers’ culture and fan base thanks to Anthony Parker.  The two men played together for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005-06 where the team would be runners-up in the Euroleague Championship but win the Israeli Championship.

In what will be his third season in the NBA, Casspi is not only excited to be a part of a new team and have a new-found opportunity, but he is also looking to improve on his already solid game. He has already set a goal of an 85 percent free throw mark – he’s a career 67 percent shooter from the charity stripe.  Despite the Kings’ season ending in April, Casspi has been working for the last month and a half and will do so through the European Championship and his work with the Israeli national team.

“This is a very important summer for me,” Casspi stated. “It’s a great opportunity to start a new wave and be the best teammate I can be.

“I can’t wait to start.”

Related:

NBA Trade News: Cavs Deal JJ Hickson to Kings for Omri Casspi, Draft Pick

Chris Grant: Hickson Trade Was About Flexibility, Balance

  • Andrew

    At least we have a SF now to start! I feel bad for the 5% of people who were most excited to see JJ Hickson next year.

  • mgbode

    “I hope to find myself in a team that appreciates me as a player and a person, a team that plays like a team,” Casspi told an Israeli website back in April

    In other words, a team that doesn’t have Tyreke trying to see how big of a dent he can put in both the floor and the rim, while the lone big man on the team pouts about it. And now add Jimmer&Salmons&Hickson. Yeah, this is going to end well?

  • Shamrock

    I think the # was higher then 5% but good luck getting them to admit it now.

  • mgbode

    @Shamrock – oooo, burn.

    seriously though, I think he was referring to the poll from yesterday on which Cavs player you are most excited to see. While I voted for Irving, I was excited to see if JJ could continue his good play since the allstar break. as were quite a few other people as you can see in the initial trade thread.

  • CLE

    whats up with the bar photo?

  • bridgecrosser

    The photo in the last thread of Grant is hilarious on many levels.

  • bobby

    He seems like the exact player Scott wants. Doesnt hurt that hes 6’9 and adds some height. And hes just shy of 50% from 3? He will get plenty of opportunities next NBA year.

  • CavsBrownsFan

    The thing I hate about these kinds of trades is that we really won’t know if it worked out for us until these guys play. Until then, everything we read on this site is just pure speculation. Its kind of like the draft. We spent months reading about all these European guys when the Cavs really didn’t have much interest in them to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the Thompson pick but we can’t really judge anything the Cavs do until their prospects actually play.

  • s-devo

    decent trade, he could do really well in this offense – as long as he plays defense

    sounds like a better guy thats willing to learn and can learn plays and listen to byron

    what i really dont like and hope he can work on this is his FTA numbers, 2.3 and 1.4 his first 2 years, this translates into 3.2 and 2.1 per 36 minutes, you want a guy that can get to the line at the 3 spot

    tristan thompson averaged 7.25 trips to the line in about 30 minutes of work =8.4 per 36 minutes

    maybe they can work together and tristan can teach omri how to get fouled, while omri can teach him how to actually shoot a free throw

    good thing is that they’re both young and seem hungry, maybe it will all work out

    bottom line is that we’re better today than we were yesterday

  • Damon

    Unless you want to blame Brown (for playing him), I couldn’t get over how bad Hickson looked in the Cavs’ last playoff series vs. the Celtics. Sure, Lebron James took all the attention, but there was no worse player on the court than Hickson. I thought his biggest weakness was his defense, and his biggest strength was as trade bait.

    However, I Hickson well, now that he’s gone, since Cavs can use another 1st Round Draft pick sooner rather than later. The pick depends on the Kinds being respectable, not bottom rung.

    Casspi “has already set a goal of an 85 percent free throw mark – he’s a career 67 percent shooter from the charity stripe.” This may translate as a real goal of 75%. Meanwhile, Tristan should set a goal at 6o% FT, so he actually gets to 5o%.

  • mgbode

    the more I think about it, the more I think that this is Grant putting his stamp on the team.

    with Ferry, we drafted the best athlete with the highest ceiling (Shannon Brown, Hickson, Eyenga).

    with Grant, we seem to be gearing towards players willing to play extremely hard at all times on both sides of the floor (Tristan,Casspi – Irving was an obvious pick, so I’m not going to include him). now, we might be a little hesitant to go this route as fans due to our previous experience with Mangini. But, as long as we still get talented players while paying attention to character as well, it can work (especially in basketball). We’ll see how good Grant is at evaluating talent with how Tristan and Casspi do.

    note: this also follows the blueprint that Byron Scott has used in his previous stops, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his fingerprints are on this plan as well.

  • Swig

    Great attitude. If he backs it up on the court it will be “JJ who?”. He’s a rich man’s Drew Gooden.

    @mgbode, And now add Jimmer&Salmons&Hickson. Yeah, this is going to end well?

    I can hardly wait for 2018

  • Jim

    Damon,

    JJ Hardly played against the Celtics. He played 12, 16, 19, 6, 5, 0 minutes in the six games respectively. It’s hard to look terrible when you’re not playing.

    J.J. certainly has had motivational issues but he also was playing the best basketball of his career the last three months of the season, averaging almost 19 ppg and 10+ rebounds. I feel like the Cavs gave up on J.J. a year to soon. Hopefully Thompson is all the Cavs believe he is. When a guys two weaknesses are “needs to learn how to play the game” and “offense” I’m somewhat skeptical he has what it takes to succeed in the NBA.

  • Mike

    I posted this on another website and thought it would fit here as well.

    While I understand if people don’t like this trade, I do think the Chris Grant does have a clear vision for the kind of players he wants. Simply put, he’s looking for high intensity, high character players with good motors who can run the floor and are efficient looking at advanced stats. Remember that John Hollinger had Thompson rated as the 3rd best prospect in the draft. Also, the Kings were statistically a better team when Casspi was on the floor, suprisingly this is not true about the Cavs and JJ Hickson. Regarding the shooting guard position, I think that the most likely long term option for the Cavs is to fill this through the 2012 draft as they are likely a lottery team and this draft is supposed to be heavy in wing players. There is one player who comes to mind who definitely fits into the Cavs focal points of character, athleticism, and effort, and that’s Demar Derozan of the Toronto Raptors. It would take a lot to get Derozan (possibly Anderson Varejao) due to his age (22), contract (a little over 2 million in each of the next two years), and production (17ppg). That being said, he is a high intensity player who can finish at the rim and has a great mid-range game. Derozan could be looked at as more of a scoring guard than a shooting guard as he is not a good three point shooter (just over 13% for his career), but he takes very few three pointers and his strengths and weaknesses offensively would be complemented by Casspi, who is an excellent shooter with a poor mid-range game. He also has some work to do defensively, but this is due more to mental errors than lack of effort.