Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin: New Orleans waives former Kings forward Casspi

Omri Casspi was officially waived today by the New Orleans Pelicans, and from what I am hearing, the Kings definitely have interest in bringing him back to Sacramento. There is nothing imminent, but stay tuned.

When I spoke with Casspi two nights ago on his cell phone from Tel Aviv, he was preparing to accompany the Israeli national team to Moscow for an exhibition game and preparation for the qualifying tournament for the European Championships.

The veteran small forward and former star for Maccabi Tel Aviv also has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and, this most recently, the Houston Rockets. He was recently acquired by the Pelicans in the deal for Omer Asik. Casspi’s rookie season was his best stats-wise, when he averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and shot 44 percent as a part-time starter.

During our conversation, we talked about how he has changed his conditioning routine. The training facilities in Israel are subpar compared with the U.S. and several countries in Europe. When I spent 10 days profiling him in August, 2009, prior to his rookie season, he was completely naïve about what it takes to play in the NBA from a physical perspective.

“No comparison with how I train today,” Casspi said. “I’m a lot stronger and more comfortable now. I have been working out all summer with my (conditioning coach) David Thorpe in Florida. Before I came back to Israel with the national team, I told David I’ll be there every day, all day. We worked all the time, just me and him. I’m 26 now, and this is an important time for me. I want to stay in the NBA, so we’ll see what happens.”

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