Omri Casspi waived by NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans after breaking thumb


(JTA) — Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the National Basketball Association, was waived by the New Orleans Pelicans less than a week after he was traded to the team.

Casspi was waived on Saturday after suffering a broken thumb Thursday night in his Pelicans debut.

The 6-9 forward was part of a blockbuster five-player trade that included All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins going to New Orleans from the Sacramento Kings.

“I think he understands,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told ESPN on Saturday. “We talked about it. It’s just kind of an unfortunate situation because I felt like he was going to be a guy that could help us — the shooting aspect, the size and everything. These kinds of things happen. At this stage, it was really just important for us to have that roster spot.”

Casspi will be sidelined with the injury for at least four weeks, which is most of the rest of the regular season.

The former first-round draft pick, who played with the championship Maccabi Tel Aviv team in Israel before making himself available for the NBA in 2008, had been playing about 19 minutes per game this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Casspi, who had played previously in New Orleans, also had stints with the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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