Ball begins to roll in NBL free agency

ALTHOUGH the National Basketball League (NBL) season wrapped last month, the action rolls on with free agency opening earlier this week.

Just a couple of weeks after the Tasmania JackJumpers claimed the 2023/24 title, the free agency period opened, allowing out-of-contract players to make a move to a new team if they were after a change of scenery.

There were some big names on the market coming in, but a few are now locked away after a blockbuster opening day on Monday.

So far, the biggest movers have been the Sydney Kings, who appear to be gearing up for a new era under new head coach Brian Goorjian. Along with returning superstar Xavier Cooks, the Kings acquired the services of NCAAM duo Tyler Robertson and Keil Leaupepe, along with experienced guard Izayah Le’afa.

Robertson and Leaupepe have been highly touted prospects for a while, and will thrive under the guidance of Goorjian and Cooks, while Le’afa can defend and knock down the three-pointer, making Sydney a scary prospect.

Following a disappointing campaign, SEM Phoenix are adding some firepower to their backcourt, getting the signature of star veteran guard Nathan Sobey and heart and soul player Angus Glover. Sobey will form a damaging partnership with Mitch Creek, having established himself as one of the best scorers in the league, while the Phoenix will be hopeful Glover recreates his grand final heroics from 12 months ago.

The New Zealand Breakers have also been busy in the opening days of free agency, adding the trio of Jonah Bolden, Mitch McCarron and Mojave King. Bolden’s return to the NBL was much publicised last year, but he struggled to reach expectations with the Kings. McCarron appears the replacement for the likely departing William McDowell-White, and King returns after a stint with the Ignite in the NBA G-League.

The final eye-catching move of Monday was the Cairns Taipans‘ signing of young forward Kyrin Galloway from the Adelaide 36ers. Galloway showed glimpses of star potential with a strong build and athletic frame last season, and will head north to take that progression to the next level. Under Adam Forde – who is well renowned for his development of rising players – he could become one of the most improved players in the competition.

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