Jan 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi (36) goes up for a shot as Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia (27) watches during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

Cavaliers And Casspi Deny Buy-Out Rumors

As rumors surfaced and John Telich of Fox 8 News tweeted that unnamed sources have learned that the Cleveland Cavaliers and small forward Omri Casspi are coming to a mutual agreement to have the Cavaliers buy out Casspi’s contract. Those rumors, according to sources who were in contact with The Plain Dealer, were proven to be false.

Casspi joined the Cavaliers two offseasons ago right before the NBA lockout when the Cavaliers traded power forward J.J. Hickson to the Sacramento Kings for Casspi. The Israeli small forward started the 2011-12 NBA season with the Cavaliers as a starter, but soon saw his playing time decrease as small forward Alonzo Gee, who has not yet been resigned by the Cavaliers, exploded off the bench.

The three-year NBA veteran Casspi played in 65 games last season, starting 35 games and averaging 20.6 minutes. His shooting  accuracy is a big reason why the Cavaliers looked to other options off the bench to start at the three. Casspi shot 40.3 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from three-point range. He also averaged career lows in points (7.1), rebounds (3.5) and steals (0.6).

Casspi was very frustrating to watch throughout last season, as he could never seem to develop a jumper that the Cavaliers could rely on in a small forward. Gee wasn’t much better, but his defensive abilities and quickness that allowed him to make explosive plays on offense made him a much better choice for the Cavs to go with as a starter.

I believe Casspi will see a decrease in playing time, as new Wine and Gold member C.J. Miles and Gee will be splitting time at the three. Miles can play the guard position from time to time, but unless Casspi shows dramatic shooting improvements, I can’t see him getting starter minutes.

As far as the Casspi buy-out rumors go, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio has reported that if Casspi were to leave the Cavaliers, it would be up to him. His only option if he left the Cavaliers on an agreed buy out would be for him to return overseas to play, most likely for his native country of Israel.

Other news of the Cavaliers wanting to buy out small forward Luke Walton’s contract were shot down as well according to two NBA sources. Walton was acquired in the mid-season trade last season that sent point guard Ramon Sessions and small forward Christian Eyenga to the Los Angeles Lakers. Sessions and Eyenga are no longer with the Lakers.

Walton played in 21 games in Wine and Gold last season, averaging 2.0 points, 1.4 assists and 1.6 rebounds. The 32-year-old forward shot 35.3 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three while averaging 14.2 minutes off the bench as a Cavalier.

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