Hapoel Jerusalem Rumors
Ronnie: What do you see Maccabi doing this summer to revamp the roster? Will they go hard after Mekel? Also is Bender going to play on the senior team this year? David Pick: Maccabi are going hard after Gal Mekel – as are Hapoel Jerusalem. Not many players are safe in terms of moving forward with Maccabi next season. MarQuez Haynes, Nate Linhart, Sofo Schotsanitis are all gone. Joe Alexander is questionable, depending on whether he is awarded Israeli credentials. Alex Tyus is looking for his max deal in Europe, which is a well-deserved $1 million. Jeremy Pargo is 50-50, could go either way, will come down to if Maccabi win or lose championship. Assistant Pini Gershon is out.
Marc Stein: Despite hard push late from Hapoel Jerusalem back home, former Mavs/Pels PG Gal Mekel formally signed this AM with Nizhny Novgorod in Russia
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Hapoel Jerusalem will unload Great Britain muscle Pops Mensah-Bonsu from team roster, according to source.
Israeli-American Ori Allon, who heads the Hapoel ownership group, said he has had discussions with Stoudemire about playing for Hapoel Jerusalem. Allon has a goal of making Hapoel into the same recognizable brand as Maccabi Tel Aviv and believes Stoudemire’s addition — as owner or player — has put the team on that path. “We’ve discussed it in the past,’’ Allon said. “It would be tremendous and unbelievable but it’s still early. I think it’s a real possibility, but he played very well this season so it’s up to him.’’
“We’ll see,’’ Stoudemire told The Post. “You can’t rule anything out. The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and am still in great health, it would be great. I have one more year left on my deal and we’ll go from there.’’ Stoudemire claims he has Jewish roots on his mother’s side and has become observant regarding Jewish holidays, including Passover, which began Monday night. Stoudemire said he will observe by not eating bread.
Stoudemire is part of a four-man ownership group, including superagent Arn Tellem, that purchased 60 percent of Hapoel Jerusalem last summer and turned the franchise into the top team in the Israeli league at 20-7. Stoudemire’s late surge, during which he played near his All-Star level the season’s final month, could prompt him to seek another NBA contract after 2014-15 when his $100 million pact expires. But he’s also mulling Israel to boost its profile.