Imports headline unsigned NBL talent

THE NBL free agency period for 2023 has delivered plenty of eye-catching moves, but there are still some big names yet to put pen to paper.

Some of the competition’s best players have found new homes, such as Luke Travers and Keanu Pinder, which could shake things up going into next season. There was plenty of anticipation coming into the window, and it has certainly delivered so far.

Although many of the big fish are now off the market, there is still plenty of speculation surrounding some key figures from last season. With the offseason flying by, teams will be eager to lock down the following players.

Of the crop of unsigned players, much of the speculation surrounds the imports that hit the court in the NBL last season.

At the top of the list is Milton Doyle, who was a star for the Tasmania JackJumpers and was rewarded with an All-NBL First Team appearance. The JackJumpers are eager to retain his services, but Doyle is doing his asking price no harm by continuing to play at a high level for Tofas in the Basketbol Super Ligi in Turkey.

Should he not return to the team from the Apple Isle, it will leave a fairly big hole in Tassie’s lineup, given he was the go-to man for Scott Roth last season, and the team’s free agency plans are based around the star’s decision.

The JackJumpers will be eager to regain Milton Doyle. Photo: Simon Sturzaker/Getty Images

Another import who is still on the table is DJ Hogg, who has shown interest in returning to the Cairns Taipans for a second consecutive season. The forward showed his scoring capability during his time with the Taipans, and following the departure of Pinder, could be given the license to be the number one option on the offensive end for the entire season. It was a method that seemed to work well in the postseason, with Hogg exploding for big games on multiple occasions, so a re-signing could work well for both player and team.

DJ Hogg is out of contract for the upcoming season. Photo: Emily Barker/Getty Images

After a slow start to the season, former NBA talent Tyler Johnson got going in the back half of the fixture and became a strong contributor for the Brisbane Bullets. He is out of contract going as it stands, but has publicly declared his desire to return to Brisbane, so a signing looms likely in the coming weeks. The Bullets roster already looks different to last season though, and under a new coach, the team could opt to go in a different direction, giving minutes to newly acquired guard Isaac White instead.

Tyler Johnson found his feet in the back half of the fixture. Photo: Steve Bell/Getty Images

One of the surprise stories of the season was the success of the New Zealand Breakers, and much of that came from the team’s imports, who were simply outstanding in leading the team to the grand final.

The trio of Barry Brown Jr., Jarell Brantley and Dererk Pardon were all key figures in the team’s strong campaign, and all remain unsigned. Brantley signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz in the NBA, and his future in the league remains uncertain. Brown Jr. and Pardon are also yet to commit to a team, but given their importance to the team this season, it seems likely New Zealand will attempt to bring them back.

While it seems far fetched that all of these players will return to the NBL, there will be plenty of attention on those listed players and their future in the competition.

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