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Omri Casspi on Sacramento: 'It feels like home to me'

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Omri Casspi joins Andre Miller in expressing a desire to return to the Kings next season as George Karl continues his mid-season training camp.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings have been able to string together some wins under George Karl, and forward Omri Casspi is stumping to come back next season.

The Kings signed Casspi to a one-year deal over the summer and it has worked out better than most figured it would. Casspi, who also played for the Kings from 2009 to 2011, has brought a veteran presence and tenacity to the Kings lineup that his 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season don't do justice. The 26-year-old forward recently told The Sacramento Bee that he wants to be back in Sacramento next season "badly." On Tuesday, Casspi told Sactown Royalty that he thinks the Kings "ship is headed in the right direction" and that he likes the city of Sacramento.

"First of all, it is the city that drafted me … and the city that embraced me as a young 21-year-old. Just have so many friends and so many nice people in the community. It feels like home to me. So I feel comfortable, and I played the best basketball of my career here and I want to kind of grow more and more with this team," Casspi said.

Casspi is right about his best basketball. His scoring and rebounding numbers in his first stint with the Kings and this season are better than his scoring numbers in Cleveland and Houston. He is also shooting a career-high 47 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line this season.

Casspi, who said he feels like "the fans deserve a winning team and winning basketball," is now on his sixth NBA coach (three of those coming this season), but he says he trusts George Karl's system. Having Vlade Divac around and his relationship with general manger Pete D'Alessandro also helps.

"We [Vlade Divac and him] talk about so many different international players so just having him around, his knowledge of the game is remarkable. He's just a great guy and I'm happy to have him," Casspi told Sactown Royalty. "Good relationship with Pete D'Alessandro - he's the one that talked to me all summer, kind of talked me through the process of coming back here. So having those guys around ... been great to me."

Casspi joins point guard Andre Miller in expressing interest in returning to the Kings next season. Miller has echoed similar sentiments about Sacramento feeling like home. Both of the veterans have found a niche in Karl's system - Casspi sprinting up and down the floor like a deer and scoring in transition and Miller serving as the savvy floor general to the second unit who sometimes breaks these youngsters' ankles.

On Tuesday night, after the Kings defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, Karl, in only the most honest way he knows how, said he has "no idea" if the team is grasping his system more these days, but that they are getting a feel for the "pace of the game."

"The energy of the team and the spirit of the team right now since I've been here, this is by far the best. Their focus is better, their concentration is better," Karl told reporters. "We've got a long way to go, but I think this three-game winning streak will give us a chance to go out and play four really good basketball teams on their home court."

The "training camp" that Karl is orchestrating for the remainder of the season continues on the road beginning Wednesday with a stop in Phoenix. Casspi, Miller and the rest of the team will continue to show Karl what they can do as he, along with the front office, figures out what is best for the team moving forward.

Karl is still definitely working out the kinks with the players he has and trying to break old habits.

"There's just a couple of habits that we have that I brought to their attention that sometimes they still don't want to agree with my opinion on," Karl said.

What's your opinion on Casspi? Should the Kings bring him back next season?