The NBA's two top Jewish stars Jordan Farmar and Omri Casspi have signed for Maccabi Tel Aviv, with the American League threatening a lockout for the entire season.
New Jersey Nets guard Farmar who won back-to-back championships with the Los Angeles Lakers before moving to the East Coast, initiated the move to Israel where he is likely to earn $500,000 a year compared with $4 million a year in the US.
Casspi played for Maccabi Tel Aviv before becoming the first Israeli to play in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings in 2009.
In the summer, the Israeli forward moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Another NBA player, Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker, has signed for Bnei Sharon and more NBA stars are expected to head for Israel as the new season approaches.
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt is said to be unhappy about the influx of NBA stars with contracts entitling the players to return mid-season if the lockout is resolved.
The lockout began on July 1 after club owners could not reach a collective agreement with the players over salary caps. Since then there have been no talks with the situation unresolved.