THE National Basketball League (NBL) is in the midst of the most exciting part of the offseason, with a number of players changing jerseys and signing fresh contracts with new teams. After an extremely entertaining NBL22, there is a lot of anticipation ahead of the upcoming season, and the player movements have only added to that.
The Adelaide 36ers have been the story of the offseason to date, making some massive moves in the first couple of weeks as they continue to chase a title. With plenty of players still unsigned ahead of NBL23, the fun is far from over, with some big names still set to decide on their immediate playing futures.
We take a look at some of the biggest signings so far, and the impact they will make at both an individual and team level.
Antonius Cleveland to the Adelaide 36ers
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year made headlines when he travelled south to the 36ers in one of the first moves of the offseason. Cleveland arrived at the Hawks last year, having made a name for himself at an international level, but took his game up a notch in the NBL. He was named to the All-NBL First Team and was announced as one of the premier guards the league has to offer. It is a huge signing for the 36ers, who now have the star power to rise up the rankings. Meanwhile, Cleveland will be thrilled to pair with the next addition to this list.
Robert Franks to the Adelaide 36ers
Adelaide’s second big signing came in the form of star Brisbane forward Franks, who was excellent for the Bullets in season 2021/22. With the ability to create his own shot from both inside and outside, Franks became one of the most dynamic offensive players in the competition. He will relish the chance to compete alongside Cleveland as they look to bring a title to Adelaide. The two will be able to create some serious offence for each other, and should be one of the most dangerous duos in the competition. Adding to the hype are the rumours that Xavier Munford will be making the move across from the Phoenix, and if that is the case, Adelaide will have one of the most star-studded rosters in the entire NBL heading into 2022/23.
Le’afa and the South East Melbourne Phoenix mutually agreed for the guard to be released from his contract in the past few weeks, as he seeks greater opportunities elsewhere. He was an unfortunate product of the Phoenix having a stacked roster, with an excess of guards, and could make an impact on another NBL team. The Breakers have been open in their hopes of reconnecting the side with its roots and heritage, and Le’afa will play a big role in this. Team culture is huge in the sporting world, and the move could not only benefit the Breakers, but Le’afa as well. If he can recapture the form from his rookie season, then he could be one of the most improved players in the competition.