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Mavericks in for Mekel

    Gal Mekel is set to become only the second-ever Israeli to play in the NBA after reaching an agreement with the Dallas Mavericks.

    The Maccabi Haifa point guard is said to have reached a verbal agreement with the Texan team and will sign a three-year contract worth $2.3 million on July 10 when the NBA equivalent of the transfer window opens.

    Mekel said: "I'm on top of the world. I knew that with hard work I could succeed."

    Mekel, who is 25 and stands at 6ft 4in, is something of a late developer in the game. He had hoped to reach the NBA through US College basketball but after two years at Wichita State he returned to Israel and joined Maccabi Tel Aviv.

    He moved to Hapoel Upper Galilee the following year before joining Treviso in Italy. He returned to Israel last summer, signing for Maccabi Haifa, and produced some outstanding performances to lead the team to their first league title.

    Meanwhile, Omri Casspi’s future in the NBA hangs in the balance. The first Israeli to play in the league, Casspi has been released by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named as one of the league’s best rookie players at Sacramento Kings four years ago but has struggled for form.

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