Omri Casspi on Dave Joerger: ‘We Haven’t Talked Since Preseason’
After a season full of career highs in 2015-2016, Sacramento’s Omri Casspi has found himself riding the pine for most of this young season. Casspi played in 69 games for the Kings last season, and started 21 of those under former head coach George Karl.
Now, after not playing a single second in last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the 6-foot-9 Israeli has seen the floor in only six of the Kings’ first 12 games. And he doesn’t understand why.
“Last year, I started a majority of the games and I was guarding the best threes and fours night in and night out,” Casspi told Cowbell Kingdom when asked about being called a defensive liability. “The easy way out when you are a player like me is to call it defense. I don’t remember any guy going off on me last year.”
With the additions of veterans Matt Barnes & Anthony Tolliver, Casspi knew that it was going to be a battle for minutes. However, he said that he was never even given a chance to compete for them.
Earlier this week, head coach Dave Joerger held a team meeting to announce his permanent rotation going forward. Casspi was nowhere on it. He was asked if he had gotten any kind of explanation or one-on-one time with Joerger.
“We haven’t talked since preseason. It was a team-wide meeting only,” Casspi said.
Neither party has approached one another to discuss Casspi’s lack of minutes, however he reassured that he hasn’t stopped working hard.
“I am at the point in my career where I am trying to do whatever I can to help the team,” Casspi said. “Just waiting for my opportunity.”
In last night’s post-game press conference, Joerger was asked if he considered replacing the struggling Rudy Gay with Casspi.
“You want me to give him some of Rudy’s minutes? Yeah, that’s not happening,” Joerger said.
Casspi is a hustle player. An energetic spark plug off the bench. He has made a career raising the tempo and intensity immediately when he checks into the game.
“It’s who I am. I love fast. Fast is in my DNA,” Casspi said. “Fast, open threes, getting into the action quick and crisp. That’s who I am. That’s not going to change.”
As Casspi’s minutes continued to decline, the rumor mill began to spin last weekend, suggesting that the eight-year veteran was looking to be traded to a team where he could find a fit in their rotation. Earlier this week, Casspi denied the report that he himself asked for a trade.
“That’s the nature of things, with the situation and with everything going on,” Casspi said. “I don’t try and think about that or talk about it because I am not focused on any of that. I am focused on helping the team win. If something happens, something happens.”
There are many who believe that Casspi can be at least the start of a remedy for the Kings’ offensive struggles. Ultimately it is Joerger’s call. Based off the rotation, it’s unlikely there will be a Casspi sighting anytime soon.