NBL 2023: Trade Rumors; Cairns duo in Sydney Kings sights

The Sydney Kings are enjoying the spoils of back-to-back NBL titles, but they have also wasted little time preparing for a historic three-peat as they begin sifting through the available talent.

Back-to-back champions Sydney Kings are already eyeing a historic NBL three-peat, despite admitting they are “watching” other clubs who are “sitting on their lap”.

It comes as the Kings could steal both Keanu Pinder and DJ Hogg from the Cairns side they beat in this year’s NBL semi-finals.

The Kings passed Pinder, Hogg and the Taipans en route to back-to-back NBL titles, but the pair could be in Kings colours, NBL24 tips.

After the NBA departure of irreplaceable Xavier Cooks, the Kings have built a war chest to throw at the two Snakes, and Pinder says he’s a priority as a young, similar talent.

On Thursday, Sydney president and owner Paul Smith handled free agency talks in a 9 a.m. meeting, followed by more player talk.

“It’s ongoing, it’s called the postseason, but that’s the biggest challenge going deep,” Smith said.

“You are behind all the other clubs who are sitting on their pitch and not playing, spending time planning their squad.

“But we haven’t had a chance yet. We haven’t done it right.”

Smith is confident the Kings will keep underrated guard Angus Glover, who starred in Sydney’s Game 5 win with 12 points and nine rebounds despite a bruised rib.

“We would like to return him. he will be king for life,” he said.

Glover was humbled when told of Smith’s glowing praise, declaring that he had “every desire” to stay with the Kings for a long time.

He is also extremely confident in Sydney’s ability to mount another successful bid to claim a third straight title.

“It’s hard to keep up, let alone three-peat, but we have a good core of players and this club with a front office knows how to recruit top talent here and talent that wants to improve.

“We’ve shown that we develop players right on our roster and everyone that comes in here is a high-character guy.

“I’m sure they’ll do a great job to put together a group to try and go for a third championship.”

Meanwhile, the Kings are almost certain to move on from Brazilian great Tim Soares after a disappointing display in the grand final series, with American Hogg, 26, seen as an ideal match for the athletic Pinder.

The Kings would love to get guard Derrick Walton Jr. back, but the reality is he’ll pay more overseas after a solid, if unspectacular, season that ended with a grand finals MVP.

Justin Simon also excelled for the Kings, and in another universe the American could add Defensive Player of the Year and Grand Final MVP to his championship ring. The Kings would love to have him back for the right price.

The club’s young squad and those released from other clubs have improved significantly under Chase Buford, a testament to his profound influence on the club.

Angus Glover went to another level and exploded in the grand final series, big man Jordy Hunter sacrificed himself for the greater good but could have been a starter for half the teams in the league, Quat Noah was in the wilderness until he was handed a lifeline. The Kings, while Jaylin Galloway is developing into a defensive beast in his own right.

Will Weaver led the Kings to the Grand Finals and then took a job with the Houston Rockets in the NBA. Buford has deep ties to the NBA through his father, R.S. Buford and through his long association with San Antonio and Chase Budenholzer in Milwaukee, where he spent time as an assistant and coached the Bucks’ G League affiliate.

He will have no shortage of job offers, but would he be interested in taking on the challenge of emulating the great Brian Gurdjian and three-peat in the Harbor City?

NBL legend Derek Rooker confidently said after Game Five he didn’t expect Buford to return to the NBL next season, citing Atlanta as a potential destination.

There is a lot to play for, but the Kings will move heaven and earth to keep hold of the fiery coach, who has mixed emotional outbursts with historic success during his two years in Australia.


Contracted. Vasilievich, Hunter, Galloway (team option), Bruce, Noah (team option), Cooks (NBA)

Out of contract. Glover, Soares, Walton Jr., Simon, McCoy

McDowell-White wants the big bucks

As rival NBL clubs line up with godfather offers for New Zealand star William McDowell-White, the Breakers have not given up hope of re-signing the Queensland-born point guard.

McDowell-White mixed in a sublime performance and some struggles in the grand final series against reigning champions Sydney, but has significantly boosted his earning power with one club ready to offer him a multi-year deal starting at $500,000. season

Perth Wildcats, Brisbane Bullets and South East Melbourne Phoenix are among the clubs showing interest in the 24-year-old, who may also have potential suitors in Europe and Asia.

But the Breakers believe they have a “better than even chance” of keeping him in NZ.

Hopefully their NBL23 success, combined with the young gun’s improvement and developing relationship with coach Modi Maori, will have a big impact on McDowell-White’s decision.

They also believe money is not everything for McDowell-White, who started his NBL career in Sydney.

It makes for an intriguing draw that is sure to attract more than just the four clubs mentioned.

The Breakers will have to contend with poaching Sixth Man of the Year Barry Brown Jr. and second-team All-NBL big Derek Pardon, but hopes of keeping former NBA star forward Jarrell Brantley have been boosted after his heart-felt endorsement Maori after their game. five losses to the Kings.

The super-powerful triple threat interrupted Maori’s post-match press conference to show his love for the Kiwi coach.

Brantley is a family man whose brother, Jamaal Brantley, spent time with the Breakers this season as an injury replacement.

With French next star Ryan Rupert almost certain to follow NZ’s RJ Hampton and Ousmane Dieng in the NBA draft, the Breakers will once again look to sign another young prodigy with big league prospects.

35-year-old elder statesman Tom Abercrombie has yet to decide whether he will return to the club in search of a fifth NBL title, but his efforts in the grand final, particularly on the defensive end, and cool head will likely leave him with the call. arms, while Rob Loy is out of contract but likely to return.


Contracted. Vodanovich, LeAfa, Gliddon, Fotu, Rupert (Next Star)

Out of contract. Law, Abercrombie, McDowell-White, Brantley, Purdon, Brown, Timmins

Originally published as NBL 2023: Cairns duo emerge as targets as champions Sydney Kings seek greater success

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