Omri Casspi traded by Sacramento Kings to Cleveland Cavaliers

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Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Sacramento Kings sent Casspi, 23, and a 2012 first-round draft pick to the Cavs in exchange for power forward J.J. Hickson in a deal announced Thursday.

Casspi, a favorite of Jewish fans across the country, had expressed a desire to be traded because he believed he was not getting enough playing time.

He started 27 games for the Kings last season, but his minutes were limited playing behind promising youngsters DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Donte Green. He averaged 24 minutes a game, mostly as a reserve, and he grew disgruntled as his playing time diminished as the season progressed.

Casspi  averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, his second in the NBA. The Cavaliers were in need of a small forward and Casspi will likely step right into Scott’s starting lineup.

“We’re excited to add a young, talented, tough-minded player like Omri, that we feel is a good fit for our team and can help improve our perimeter group, while also being able to obtain another important asset with the additional first-round draft pick,” Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant said in a statement.

Both 6-foot-9-inch forwards were first-round draft picks by their original teams: Casspi in 2009 and Hickson the previous year out of North Carolina State.

Hickson averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, mostly as a starter.

Casspi is training to play with the Israeli national team in the European basketball championships in August.

The Cavaliers said the first-round pick they obtained is lottery protected in 2012 (Nos. 1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second-round pick to the Cavaliers.