Frustrated Casspi open to leaving Kings

1:59 PM, Apr 5, 2011   |    comments
Kings forward Omri Casspi frustrated with lack of playing time.
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SACRAMENTO, CA - After missing four out of the last seven games, Sacramento Kings second-year forward Omri Casspi said he is prepared to go to a team that will play him following this season. 

In the Israeli sports website ONE, the 22-year-old Casspi wrote that lack of playing time from Kings head coach Paul Westphal has led him to believe that he's no longer in the team's vision for the future.

"It's not easy for me to sit on the bench, which has happened to me quite a bit in Sacramento's last few games," Casspi wrote. "I'm a player who lives the game. And as soon as you take away the thing I love the most in the world, playing basketball, it is hard for me.

"The situation in Sacramento is not like it used to be in the past.  Coach Paul Westphal is experimenting and trying different things and I'm certainly not in his plans. We have six more games until the end of the season, and although I won't say that I'm counting the seconds, it is clear to me that I will have to make some decisions at the end of the year."

News10 spoke briefly to Westphal on Monday night from Houston, who said he wasn't surprised with Casspi's frustrations.

"There's not much doubt that Omri is frustrated and it wouldn't really surprise me that he wants to play," Westphal said. "He's a good guy and a good competitor and feels like he shouldn't be coming off the bench."

Through 69 games this season, Casspi is averaging 8.8 points per game, along with 4.4 rebounds per game, while averaging 24.5 minutes per game. 

Over the past nine games, Casspi has only averaged 6.4 minutes per game, while not playing in four of them due to Westphal's decision.

Casspi has been caught in a numbers game. Westphal has given more minutes over the nine game span to veteran Francisco Garcia and third year player Donte Greene, both play the same small-forward position as Casspi.

Casspi believes he would be an attractive commodity to many teams in the league if he and the Kings were to part ways over the summer.

"I know that there are many teams, including some playoff teams, that want me ahead of next season." Casspi wrote. "I hope to find myself in a team that appreciates me as a player and a person, a team that plays like a team.

"I still don't know if I will definitely not be continuing with the Kings. I've got a contract and love the fans, the city, the owner and the general manager. But things haven't worked out and that is legitimate.

The Kings have Casspi, the league's first Israeli born player, under contract for the next two seasons and hold a team option on him for the 2012/13 season. 

Casspi continued in his column that his current situation is not ideal for remaining with the Kings and said he envisions success with a different team in the future.

"Sacramento is the team that gave me the chance to play in the NBA, so it would be egotistical of me to say I want to leave, but I'm certain that I'm good enough to play, whether it is for the Kings or another team.

"Clearly the current situation is not ideal for the team and for me. There are other teams wich suit me better and since I have an excellent relationship with the players and the staff, I hope that they appreciate me enough to let me leave for a place where I can play basketball."

Sacramento begins a four-game road trip on Tuesday in Houston and then San Antonio on Wednesday, before wrapping the trip in Memphis on Friday and Golden State on Sunday.

By Sean Cunningham,
Twitter:  @News10Sean


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