Over the last few days, Omri Casspi has made it known that he is open to leaving the Kings. Casspi writes a regular blog for the Israeli sports website ONE. It was in this blog that he made his comments.
"It's not easy for me to sit on the bench, which has happened to me quite a bit in Sacramento's last few games,"
Casspi goes on to discuss that there are other teams in the league that would love to have him, and he hopes the Kings organization will help him find a new opportunity.
At first glance, this story is aggravating. At a time when we are fighting to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the last thing we want to read about it someone asking to leave. There is, however, a positive aspect as well. To me, these comments demonstrate a passion for the game. Omri cares if he plays and gets upset when he doesn't. That, to me, is admirable. We sat through several season in Sacramento where players didn't seem to give a damn. Give me an Omri Casspi outburst over Kenny Thomas any day.
Omri's frustration is even understandable. He came from playing in Israel where he was a star and minutes were never an issue. That, coupled with his minutes earlier in the season would create a pretty positive self-image. However, even if the frustration is understandable, that doesn't make it right.
One other tangent on those other teams that would love to have Casspi. He's young, talented, and extremely marketable. Casspi mentions that there are playoff teams that would love to have him. And yes, I'm sure teams like New York or Chicago would love to have him. But Casspi should be careful with the marketing aspect of the league. Would Omri crack Chicago's current rotation? Probably not, but they'd still love to have him. OK, end tangent.
Casspi is hardly the first victim of Westphal's unpredictable rotations. We've seen outbursts like this before from other players, such as Spencer Hawes last season. Similar to the Spencer Hawes situation, Westphal responded with relative indifference, telling Sean Cunningham of News 10:
"There's not much doubt that Omri is frustrated and it wouldn't really surprise me that he wants to play," Westphal said. "He's a good guy and a good competitor and feels like he shouldn't be coming off the bench."
Again, this still doesn't mean Omri is in the right.
Donté Greene's minutes have been on a yo-yo all season. He went from opening-night starter to a string of DNP-CDs. He then saw significant minutes again, followed by another stretch of DNPs and limited minutes. Throughout it all, we didn't hear complaints. We saw Donté waiving a towel and cheering his teammates. One of the enduring images of this season is Donté sprinting onto the court in ecstasy as Tyreke Evans' half-court game-winner was nearing the hoop. Pure joy and passion. The minutes have now swung in Donté's favor. With Westphal, you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I appreciate Casspi's passion, but I'd prefer it if he had a little more class sprinkled in.