AT&T CENTER – Back in the 2009-2010 NBA season, current San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka and Houston Rockets forward Omri Casspi were teammates together on the Sacramento Kings.
For Casspi, he was an NBA rookie at 21 years of age. Udoka was a veteran at 32 years old. Fast forward to Thursday evening at the AT&T Center where the Rockets had just defeated the Spurs in the Spurs’ preseason finale 109-92, and Casspi was glad to know an old friend of his is doing well in San Antonio.
“He always had a great basketball knowledge,” said Casspi of Udoka being hired as a Spurs assistant coach last year, “I’m still happy for him to be a great assistant with the San Antonio Spurs.”
“He’s a great guy,” continued Casspi, “and he’s a guy that we still stay in touch, so I’m real happy for him.”
When Casspi was with the Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers, there were several reports surfacing about the Spurs being interested in trading for him. I asked Casspi if those rumors years ago had any truth to them, and from what he understands, there was some interest.
“Yeah I think there was interest but I’m real happy at the place I’m at right now,” said Casspi of the Spurs having interest in him in the past. “San Antonio’s a great organization with a great coaching staff, the GM is great, but I’m really happy at the place I’m in.”
For Casspi and the Rockets, they’ve got a revamped roster with the several key additions over the offseason like Dwight Howard, Casspi, and several other players. Casspi knows of their teams possibilities, but says it’s up to them to put together a successful season.
“We have a lot of talent obviously, but it’s on us to put it together,” said Casspi of the Rockets. “Share the ball on the offensive end and play team defense. We’re doing a good job of keeping on learning, it’s just preseason, but we’ve got to put the foundation in.”
Though San Antonio was without two of its key members in Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili Thursday, the Rockets showed they will definitely be a team that will present problems with the offense running through James Harden, Howard, Chandler Parsons, and then with support off the bench from players like Casspi and Francisco Garcia.
The Spurs and Rockets will get to know each other in the coming months as they both play in the same division and will meet four times this year in the regular season.
Yep. I think we have the edge at the 1, 3 and 4; in depth and versatility. A lot depends on Dwight's head, how he meshes with Harden and Asik and the team chemistry they had last year. It's teams like Houston who have that size where Baynes' development is huge.
Always liked Casspi.