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Casspi says no to playing with former Israeli team

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Omri Casspi will not sign with his former Israeli basketball team during the NBA lockout after all.

A message on Casspi’s Twitter page read: "The two sides met today & came to the understanding that the tax issues are too big…"

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Federman said last week that Casspi was close to inking a deal with his team, which Casspi played with for three seasons before being drafted in 2009 to play for the Sacramento Kings, making him the first Israeli to play in the NBA. Casspi was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers the day before the start of the July 1 lockout.

But ESPN reported Tuesday that Casspi is considering signing with the French team ASVEL, which is owned by San Antonio Spurs player Tony Parker; Parker has indicated that he may play for the team during the lockout. Casspi and Parker also have the same agent.

Casspi, who is currently in Israel, was scheduled to be part of the Israeli national team for the EuroBasket tournament but injured his knee during practice. He announced on his Twitter page that he would not travel with the Israeli team to Lithuania for its next tournament game. A victory in the European championships could help the Israeli team secure a spot in the 2012 Olympics.

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