Omri Casspi has stabilized himself as a reserve in the Houston Rockets' rotation and credits Kevin McHale's recruitment of him for his contract with the team in the offseason.
Casspi added McHale's message to him served as a confidence booster.
“Coach (Kevin) McHale left me a message over the summer when they started recruiting me and we started talking,” Casspi said. “I still have it. He said he wanted me to play the three and the four. He explained I could spread the floor and help the team win and that he liked the way I compete. That was one of the main reasons I came here. I still have that message and I still listen to it once in a while.
“It was the first time I really talked to a coach that really talked to me. This team was obviously was supposed to be good whether I was going to be here or not. But to be a part of the team that can compete and compete for a championship, after what I’d been through, and then he left me this message that said he loves me and wants me to come and play hard and help and do the things I do. That was just an emotional day, you know.”
Casspi also received interest the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards in free agency.
“Going into free agency, I was surprised because a few teams called a few times,” Casspi said. “My No. 1 goal was to come to Houston, but there were a few teams that called. I was surprised because I didn’t play. I wasn’t a part of the rotation. Some people called me out, said I should be out of the league. I knew if I got a chance to play and got in a good system and good city, I could do things. I can play.
“You don’t really know. Until July 1, nobody can call. I was thinking about going overseas. I thought maybe my time here is done. But Houston showed a lot of interest.”