Point guard leaves NBA to sign with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s search for a playmaker ended on Aug. 3 with the signing of former Orlando Magic backup point guard Carlos Arroyo.

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican will be leaving the NBA after seven relatively successful seasons. Arroyo, who played college basketball at Florida International, averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 assists in 433 NBA games with five teams.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Aug. 4 that the 6-foot-2 Arroyo signed a three-year deal worth $7.5 million to play for Maccabi, perennially the best team in Israel. The contract reportedly gives Arroyo an opt-out provision after each of the next two seasons. The deal is considered the richest in Maccabi history, ESPN.com reported.

“I’m very happy we’ve completed this signing,” Maccabi coach Effi Birenboim told the club’s Web site. “Arroyo is a player of the highest standard and has been our top priority for a while.”

Maccabi is looking to step up its game after an embarrassing showing last season, losing the Israeli championship to tiny Hapoel Holon. However, during the same season, Maccabi advanced to the Euroleague title game, and it has won the European title five times since 1977.

In 62 games last year for the Magic, Arroyo averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 assists per game.

Arroyo is also one of the stars of the Puerto Rican national team, which registered a stunning 92-73 victory over the U.S. at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

Arroyo scored 25 points and had seven assists in that victory. Puerto Rico’s national team failed to qualify for this month’s Beijing Olympics.

Arroyo’s best NBA season was 2003-04 with Utah, when he started 71 games and averaged 28.3 minutes, 12.6 points and 5.0 assists (all career highs).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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