Ailene Voisin

Casspi finalizing deal to return to the Kings

Omri Casspi, who was drafted by the Kings in the opening round (23rd overall) in 2009, is finalizing a one-year contract with his original franchise.

The 6-foot-9 small forward was in Tel Aviv, Israel, and unavailable for comment.

Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, recently was traded from the Houston Rockets to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Omer Asik swap. Casspi was waived by New Orleans on Wednesday and cleared waivers on Friday.

Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro, who hopes to retain reserve forward Quincy Acy, had been intent on reacquiring the former Maccabi Tel Aviv star because of his deep shooting and ability to run the floor.

Casspi, 26, who also played two years in Cleveland and last season with the Rockets, shot 37 percent from three-point range in his two seasons with the Kings. As a part-time starter during his rookie year, he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Reached on Tuesday at his boyhood home south of Tel Aviv, Casspi knew the Kings were among the interested teams and, if given a choice, wanted to return to Sacramento.

“That was the team that drafted me,” he noted. “I have followed what they are doing with the team and building a new arena. I was so happy that the Kings stayed. I feel like I can help the franchise make this big (transition).”

Casspi is training with the Israeli national team as it prepares for the qualifying tournament for the European Championships. The date of his return to the United States is unclear .