Euroleague perennial power Maccabi Tel-Aviv will have at least two NBA players in its lineup this season if the lockout continues to drag now that Israel’s own Omri Casspi has committed to join Jordan Farmar on the team coached by American-born David Blatt.
Maccabi, though, has also just lost a player to the NBA, despite the fact that no one out there can tell you when the 2011-12 season over here might actually start.
Jeremy Pargo rode his speed and athleticism to a breakout season in 2010-11, fueling Maccabi’s drive to the Euroleague finals as a hard-to-harness scoring point guard. But the success and resulting interest from the NBA prompted Pargo to opt out of his Maccabi contract earlier this month, meaning that the younger brother of NBA veteran Jannero Pargo must be convinced he’ll be offered a good job in the States if he was willing to walk away from a sure thing to wait out the unknown.
David Pick of Eurobasket.com was the first to report earlier Sunday that Pargo elected to opt out of his Maccabi contract before an Aug. 1 deadline in the deal. Blatt has since signed Greek guard Thodoros Papaluokas and Farmar (until the lockout ends) to fill the Pargo void. Former Duke guard Jon Scheyer, who played in the D-League last season after recovering from a serious eye injury sustained while playing with the Miami Heat’s summer-league team in July 2010, is another recent Maccabi signee.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with listening to other offers in Europe,” Chicago-based agent Mark Bartelstein said of Pargo’s decision to opt out of his Maccabi deal. “This is all about Jeremy’s dream to play in the NBA. That’s what he wants to pursue.”
Sources in Israel say that the San Antonio Spurs, before the lockout began July 1, expressed the strongest interest in signing the 25-year-old. But sources closer to home indicate that the Spurs are not alone in their curiosity and that Pargo has piqued the interest of several NBA teams.
Undrafted out of Gonzaga, Pargo’s had summer-league stints in 2009 and 2010 with Detroit, Orlando, Charlotte and Minnesota.
Sources say Maccabi, meanwhile, has been taking a long look at former NBA lottery pick Rashad McCants, since Casspi and Farmar could be called back to the States at any team if/when the lockout ends and since Pargo’s departure robs Blatt’s team of its most dynamic scorer.