Taking the Pulse of NBL20 Free Agency

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Written for nbl.com.au by Liam Santamaria

 

We’re now a month into this year’s free agency period and man, this thing has been a whole bunch of fun.

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Casper Ware is a King, Nathan Sobey’s a Bullet and two of last season’s most entertaining imports appear to be United.

The champs have re-upped with a few key pieces, South East Melbourne have put together an exciting squad while the fans of a few other teams are starting to get a little bit nervous.

Here’s the current state of play for each NBL club.

* denotes restricted player (import)

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ADELAIDE 36ERS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Daniel Johnson – two years remaining on current deal
  • Jack McVeigh – two years remaining on current deal
  • Anthony Drmic – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jacob Wiley* – re-signed on a one-year deal
  • Harry Froling – one year remaining on current deal
  • Ramone Moore* – one year remaining on current deal

Free Agents:

  • Demitrius Conger*
  • Brendan Teys
  • Adam Doyle
  • Bijan Johnson
  • Nelson Larkins

Departing:

  • Nathan Sobey (Brisbane)
  • Majok Deng (Cairns)
  • Shaun Bruce (Sydney)

Head Coach: Joey Wright – three years remaining on current deal

The Word: The Sixers haven’t officially announced that they’ve re-signed Teys but that appears to be a done deal. Also, I mentioned on NBL Overtime on Tuesday that Daniel Dillon could be headed to Adelaide and that word has actually strengthened over the course of this week. Dillon is currently putting up 10 points and 5 assists per game in the French Pro B. If that’s not enough, former Illawarra skipper Kevin White is another guard who is currently linked to the 36ers.

That leaves a starting (import) PG and a back-up big as Adelaide’s primary targets.

Meanwhile, star import Jacob Wiley has been balling out for Gran Canaria over the past two months and, given his high-level play, I actually think his status is something to keep an eye. The Coyote has really impressed in Spain and if he continues to play well he could potentially be bought out by a big-money European club.

 

BRISBANE BULLETS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Cam Gliddon – two years remaining on current deal 
  • Jason Cadee – two years remaining on current deal (player option final year)
  • Mika Vukona – one year remaining on current deal 
  • Reuben Te Rangi – one year remaining on current deal
  • Will Magnay – one year remaining on current deal 
  • Tyrell Harrison – two years remaining on current deal
  • Matt Hodgson – re-signed on a two-year deal 
  • Nathan Sobey (Adelaide) – signed on a three-year deal 

Free Agents:

  • Cam Bairstow 
  • Lamar Patterson*
  • Jeremy Kendle*
  • AJ Davis*

Departing:

  • Adam Gibson (South East Melbourne)

Head Coach: Andrej Lemanis – re-signed on a new three–year deal

The Word: The Bullets have not yet signed any imports and are in the market for a couple of starting forwards and a back-up guard. Kendle dominated the 3×3 Pro Hustle last month and must be on Brisbane’s radar for that fourth guard spot.

 

CAIRNS TAIPANS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Jarrod Kenny – one year remaining on current deal
  • Majok Deng (Adelaide) – signed on a three-year deal (club option final year)
  • Tom Jervis (Perth) – signed on a two-year deal (mutual option final year)

Free Agents:

  • Nathan Jawai
  • Kuany Kuany
  • Dexter Kernich-Drew
  • Mitch Young
  • Lucas Walker
  • DJ Newbill*
  • Devon Hall*
  • Fabijan Krslovic
  • Christian Jurlina

Departing:

  • Rob Loe (released)
  • Melo Trimble* (Melbourne)

Head Coach: Mike Kelly – one year remaining on current deal

The Word: Losing Trimble is a blow and the Snakes also look to have missed out on both Sam Froling and Daniel Dillon.

As for Jawai, Taipans President Troy Stone wrote during the week that the club’s decision–makers are “in continuous contact with Nate while he is playing in France and look forward to sitting down face-to-face with him when he is back next month to talk about next season.”

Deng was a really good signing and Jervis is a solid addition but, let’s be honest, the Snakes have plenty of work to do. If I were them, my next moves would be to re-sign Kuany Kuany and go after Venky Jois.

 

ILLAWARRA HAWKS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Todd Blanchfield – two years remaining on current deal (mutual option final year)
  • Emmett Naar – two years remaining on current deal (mutual option final year)
  • Daniel Grida – one year remaining on current deal
  • Tim Coenraad – one year remaining on current deal
  • Angus Glover – re-signed on a two-year deal
  • AJ Ogilvy – re-signed on a two-year deal (club option final year)
  • Sunday Dech – signed on a two-year deal

Free Agents:

  • Kevin White
  • David Andersen
  • Brian Conklin*
  • Jordair Jett*
  • Cedric Jackson*
  • Marshall Nelson
  • Nic Pozoglou

Head Coach: Matt Flinn – signed on a two-year deal

The Word: The Hawks appear to be parting ways with captain Kevin White after the rugged guard spent the past four years at the club. It’s all about the youngsters right now in Illawarra and the latest word is that Sam Froling may have put pen to paper, adding to the club’s strong core of promising up-and-coming talent. As far as next moves, re-signing Andersen as a veteran presence off the bench would seem to make sense before zeroing in on some imports.

 

MELBOURNE UNITED

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Mitch McCarron – two years remaining on current deal
  • Chris Goulding – one year remaining on current deal
  • Sam McDaniel – one year remaining on current deal
  • Melo Trimble* (Cairns) – signed on a one-year deal
  • David Barlow – re-signed on a one-year deal
  • Alex Pledger – re-signed on a one-year deal

Free Agents:

  • DJ Kennedy*
  • Josh Boone*
  • Tohi Smith-Milner
  • Peter Hooley
  • Venky Jois

Departing:

  • Casper Ware* (Sydney)
  • Craig Moller (Sydney)

Head Coach: Dean Vickerman – three years remaining on current deal

The Word: United CEO Vince Crivelli said on Friday that United are “not quite over the line” with Shawn Long but look for that to be finalised sooner rather than later. From there they’ll need a back-up point guard and an import forward as well as some extra depth in the frontline. I’m expecting Smith-Milner to be re-signed to provide one of those big bodies off the bench.

 

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Corey Webster – two years remaining on current deal
  • Tom Abercombie – two years remaining on current deal
  • Shea Ili – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jarrad Weeks – one year remaining on current deal
  • Finn Delany – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jordan Ngatai – one year remaining on current deal

Free Agents:

  • Majok Majok
  • Max de Geest
  • Dominique Kelman-Poto
  • Kriz Perrot Hunt
  • Thomas Vodanovich
  • Armani Moore*
  • Patrick Richard*
  • Shawn Long*

Departing:

  • Tai Wesley (South East Melbourne)

Head Coach: Kevin Braswell – two years remaining on current deal (club option final year)

The Word: Having been released from Cairns, it appears Tall Blacks big man Rob Loe is set to re-join the Breakers while Delany (who is currently impressing in Serbia) is poised to take his game to another level in the absence of Wesley.

Long is gone so the Breakers will need to replace him with an import five but what they do with their other imports will be interesting to watch.

I’m expecting NZ’s eleventh man to be one of Kelman-Poto, Vodanovich or former DP Ethan Rusbatch, who are all currently playing well in the NZNBL.

 

PERTH WILDCATS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Bryce Cotton* – two years remaining on current deal
  • Nick Kay – two years remaining on current deal
  • Mitch Norton – two years remaining on current deal
  • Rhys Vague – one year remaining on current deal
  • Clint Steindl – re-signed on a two-year deal
  • Damian Martin – re-signed on a one-year deal
  • Jesse Wagstaff – re-signed on a two year deal

Free Agents:

  • Terrico White*
  • Kyle Bowen
  • Lochlan Cummings
  • Bryan Michaels
  • Wani Swaka Lo Buluk

Departing:

  • Angus Brandt (Europe)
  • Sunday Dech (Illawarra)
  • Tom Jervis (Cairns)
  • Assistant Coach Matt Nielsen

Head Coach: Trevor Gleeson – re-signed on a three-year deal

The Word: The Wildcats need to sign starters at the three and the five as well as a couple of local reserves; a wing and a big.

Last year’s Grand Final MVP is the obvious target at small forward but he won’t be easy to re-sign as his price has increased. Part of the issue with White will be his value in Korea (where he starred in 2018) as the Korean league has loosened its import restrictions for the upcoming season. If the Wildcats can bring White back, that’d be a big win.

For their back-up wing, I wouldn’t be surprised if former Illawarra Hawks DP Nic Pozoglou was on the radar. Pozoglou’s been burning up the NBL1 and would serve as a good replacement for retired champ Greg Hire.

 

SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Mitch Creek – signed on a three-year deal (player option final year)
  • Ben Madgen – signed on a two-year deal (mutual option final year)
  • Chima Moneke – signed on a two-year deal (club option final year)
  • Tai Wesley* (NZ) – signed on a three-year deal (club option final year)
  • Adam Gibson (Brisbane) – signed on a two-year deal
  • Dan Trist – signed on a two-year deal (club option final year)
  • Kyle Adnam (Sydney) – signed on a two-year deal
  • Dane Pineau (Sydney) – signed on a three-year deal (club option final two years)
  • Kendall Stephens – signed on a one-year deal

Head Coach: Simon Mitchell – signed on a three year deal (club option final year)

The Word: Phoenix GM Tommy Greer has done a great job of getting on the front foot in free agency and, with eight non-restricted players signed up, his attention will now turn to recruiting impact imports at the one and the five.

 

SYDNEY KINGS

Current 2019-20 Roster:

  • Andrew Bogut – one year remaining on current deal
  • Daniel Kickert – one year remaining deal on current deal
  • Kevin Lisch – re-signed on a two-year deal
  • Brad Newley – re-signed on a two-year deal
  • Jordan Hunter – signed on a three-year deal (club option final year)
  • Casper Ware* (Melbourne) – signed on a two-year deal (club option final year)
  • Craig Moller (Melbourne) – signed on a two-year deal (club option final year)
  • Shaun Bruce (Adelaide) – signed on a one-year deal

Free Agents:

  • Deng Deng
  • Jerome Randle*
  • David Wear*
  • Ray Turner*

Departing:

  • Dane Pineau (South East Melbourne)
  • Kyle Adnam (South East Melbourne)
  • Tom Wilson (Collingwood, AFL)

Head Coach: Will Weaver

The Word: The Kings have three roster spots left to fill with two imports up their sleeve but, interestingly, are yet to decide whether they’re going to max those imports spots out.

New CEO Chris Pongrass was quoted on the club’s website on Friday as saying they’re looking for a “defensive-minded 3-4 player who can shoot the ball” and added that they’ll assess what they require after signing that guy.

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