Jordan Farmar is now a member of Maccabi Tel Aviv, and will be playing basketball in Israel for the near future. For how long we do not know as the NBA lock out looks as if it will not end before the season begins in October/November.
Signing Farmar is a brilliant coup and a stroke of genius by the Maccabi brain trust Shimon Mizrahi and David Federman. Kudos for them for going out on a limb and signing a young, energetic and of course Jewish guard from the New Jersey Nets of the NBA.
Farmar with strong connections to Israel as his step father is originally from the Holy Land will be a perfect fit for Maccabi be it for one month, two months, three or longer. Whatever time Jordan will be with Israel’s top flight franchise will be a huge plus.
There are of course some naysayers who are going to argue that this is bad move and a horrible precedent, to bring a player in who might be out the door before he gets dried off after a game. But The Sports Rabbi says, NO WAY! This is a fantastic move and one that Maccabi should have considered even earlier than it did.
When the lockout began and some NBA players began checking out the European scene, Maccabi came out and said, there would be no chance of them signing a player who will not play the full season with the yellow and blue. That was probably the general attitude of most European teams about NBA players.
But then the chips started to fall into place with Deron Williams signing in Turkey, Sasha Vujacic, Nenad Krstic, and Sonny Weems all finding clubs in Europe as well and the talk of Kobe Bryant heading this way also made everyone turn their heads. Bang, Bang, Bang!
Maccabi looked at their options and figured, what would make the most sense. So with an eager Farmar expressing his desire to play in Tel Aviv it didn’t take much reasoning to realize that this was an absolute win-win situation.
Let’s look at why.
1) Maccabi Tel Aviv will be competing in three leagues this season. The Israeli domestic-Basketball Super League, The Adriatic League-featuring some of the toughest defenses and clubs in Europe, plus of course, The Euroleague with the top teams this side of the earth including, Barcelona, Real Madrid, CSKA, Panathanikos and more.
In essence Maccabi will be playing an NBA like schedule with plenty of games and of course travel. With that in mind, having a player who has experienced this type of schedule will be a bonus to have around. Plus the more players the merrier as the rules of who can play in the Israeli league are different than the other leagues.
2) From a marketing standpoint there may have not been a better pick up. Here you have a young Jewish phenom who already has two rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and now plies his trade in the biggest media market in the world. That of course being New York!
Fans of Farmar in the US, Jewish and non-Jewish alike will tune in to see how he’s doing at Maccabi, which of course brings even more exposure to the Israeli team. Might as well take advantage of basketball starved fans in the USA, especially in New York!
Even if the lockout ends around January, that’s a good few months of Farmar being with Maccabi as he lands at the end of August.
3) Other teams have signed NBA players and are a lot stronger than they were a year ago. So in order for Maccabi to keep up with the Joneses they needed to strengthen their roster and adding an NBA player in Jordan Farmar they have done just that.
So let’s celebrate this terrific move, one that makes Maccabi a perennial force yet again on the European stage and let’s root for Jordan Farmar for choosing to come home to his roots and play; even if it’s for a short period of time with arguably the best team that will be competing in the professional basketball world this fall.