NBL Basketball News 2023: NBA scout says Australian league needs to raise salary cap, Larry Kestelman wants Singapore Slingers back
Larry Kestelman says the NBL is going global and his league is entertaining the idea of reviving the Singapore Slingers in a bold plan to conquer Asia.
If league owner Larry Kestelman has his way, the Slingers, who were part of the NBL for two seasons from 2006-2008, could be part of a plan to take over the league worldwide.
And Melbourne United manager Dean Vickerman, who was the Slingers’ assistant to Gordie McLeod in 2006/07, has backed the idea.
The Slingers’ roots are in the NBL – the franchise was once the famous Canberra Cannons, which became the Hunter Pirates before a consortium from Singapore took over the club and relocated abroad, eventually leaving the league to compete in Asian competitions .
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“We’re looking at Asia very closely, how do we get interest from Asia, how do we get eyeballs from Asia, how do we grow?” Kestelman told Crosscourt.
“I have this concept, I would love to see the old Singapore Slingers revived.
“I would like to see it. An Asian team, whether based here or abroad.
Vickerman, who also coached the Singapore national team, believes the Slingers could be a success.
“As a city, I know the other teams enjoyed going to Singapore, the facilities, the support from the crowd, all those things, if they had the opportunity to come back, it’s all there,” Vickerman said.
“I think that would be good for our league.”
Kestelman also floated into the Asian market with a full round.
“How good would it be if we played an NBL round in Singapore or somewhere else?” he said.
In the last month alone, nearly 55,000 people watched Game 7 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals in the Philippines, an indicator of the basketball thirst in Asia.
“Understanding now where the league is and where we’re going is global — it goes beyond what’s happening here at home,” Kestelman said.
“So, how do we show ourselves more and more abroad?
“That is our vision and it certainly goes hand-in-hand with continued growth in Australia.”
THE LAST FRONTIER OF THE NBL
A senior NBA scout believes the NBL’s salary cap is the only factor holding back Australia’s booming league.
Australia has become a must-see for NBA scouts following the sport’s meteoric rise.
The NBL is viewed worldwide as the path for emerging and established players such as Josh Giddey, Jock Landale, LaMelo Ball and Jae’Sean Tate to achieve the best league in the world.
The revolutionary Next Stars program has helped young talent achieve their NBA dreams, led by lottery winners Giddey and Ball.
An NBA scout, who could not be named due to his club’s policies, said the NBL is paralyzed by its salary cap, making it difficult to retain higher-wage stars.
He believes the cap, set at over $1.7 million for NBL23, was the biggest obstacle to attracting the brightest young talent — and better NBA veterans.
The scout assesses the quality of the league but says it can’t compete with what’s on offer in Europe, America and Asia.
In the past season alone, the NBL has lost Jaylen Adams, Jarell Martin, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. and Duop Reath to foreign leagues, while Matthew Dellavedova, the NBL’s highest-paid player, signed a $3.7 million contract in Sacramento.
“I think the quality of the league is good … but I think the competition could probably get a lot better,” the scout told News Corp.
“The limitations of this league, I think, have a lot to do with the small salary cap and how players are paid.
“Owners have to spend a little more money to get better players.
“I’m not sure how that works, maybe it’ll change if they get a new TV deal … and then they can expand their salary cap.”
The league’s salary cap has risen more than 70 percent in the eight years since Larry Kestelman took control, paving the way for more NBA-level talent and prospects Down Under.
However, the next broadcast rights deal remains one of Kestelman’s top off-season priorities for a league that has seen exponential growth in its audience, particularly since Covid lockdowns eased.
“We’re going to have a full review of what our show looks like,” Kestelman told Crosscourt.
“How can we continue to increase the unlimited potential of television and viewership?”
Every NBL game is broadcast live on Kayo and ESPN, and is broadcast internationally to many countries, but free-to-air is still a nut the league has yet to fully crack, as Ten offers two games a week — on a Sunday, in single dissolution on one of its alternative channels – as part of a three-year deal that will end after next season.
“We’ve grown tremendously with Kayo and ESPN, and free-to-air is doing well, so our viewership is growing really fast,” Kestelman said.
“It’s not just about free-to-air, it’s about the right mix.
“The day has come when there isn’t a single (broadcast) solution – it’s all about eyeballs and how do people actually watch the games?
“I’d like to continue to see free-to-air as part of the solution, but I don’t think it’s the only solution. It’s about the right partnership and how do we do the right thing for the sport?
“We haven’t gone unnoticed – our growth and what we do has definitely been noticed.”
ANSTEY’S FIX FOR AWARD FASHION
The NBL prize vote raised many eyebrows on Monday when the finalists were released.
The Sydney Kings were furious when neither Justin Simon nor Xavier Cooks finished in the bottom three in Defensive Player of the Year polls, while Cairns Taipan Majok Deng was not happy about team-mate Bul Kuol not making the final.
It’s no secret that the winners of each award are determined by a vote among the coaches and captains of each club.
This escaped the notice of some clubs and fans, who directed their ire at the panel of experts who provided the nominees for the voting cohort.
Australian basketball star Chris Anstey believes there are a few simple fixes – make it the top 5 and get it out of players’ hands.
“It can’t just be a player vote,” said Anstey.
“It should be an independent body, with some weighting from the players if they think someone has been wrongfully abandoned.
“It also has to be a top five, not a top three.”
FROLING FAMILY THANK YOU AFTER HARRY’S OP
Brisbane Bullet Harry Froling’s father has expressed his gratitude for the “care and support” of his son who remains in hospital after being the victim of an alleged one-punch attack in Illawarra.
Harry Fröling was left with shocking injuries after the attack and required surgery to treat a fractured skull and relieve bleeding in the brain.
A 19-year-old has been charged in the incident and Shane Froling said the family will speak once “the police have gathered and dealt with the evidence and facts”.
“Harrison Fröling had major surgery and remains hospitalized after being hit to the head,” Shane Fröling tweeted.
“We cannot comment on the incident.
“Thank you for the care and support, that is greatly appreciated.”
HOOPS BACK ON THE MAP IN MELBOURNE
It’s a massive basketball week in Melbourne. The action kicks off on Friday with the ever-growing Prahran Summer Jam, the 11th incarnation of which will run over three days.
GOAT Lauren Jackson and the Southside Flyers perform in front of what may be a record-breaking crowd at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night when they take on the Sydney Flames in the first WNBL game at the 10,000-seat John Cain Arena.
Then, on Sunday, Melbourne United return to a sold-out JCA for their first home game in 44 days – a 2pm do-or-die clash with Adelaide that will have a big impact on whether the team makes the NBL- Final.
Across town in Parkville, the Melbourne Boomers continue their run into the 3pm WNBL playoffs, led by Opal superstar Cayla George and MVP candidate Tiff Mitchell, as they take on state rivals Bendigo Spirit.
GAMES THIS WEEK
Illawarra Hawks v New Zealand Breakers, Thursday 2 February 7.30pm AEDT, WIN Entertainment Center
Adelaide 36ers v Sydney Kings, Friday 3 February 7:30pm AEDT, Adelaide Entertainment Center
Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans, Friday 3 February 21:30 AEDT, RAC Arena
Illawarra Hawks vs. Tasmania JackJumpers, Saturday, February 4, 5:30 p.m. AEDT, WIN Entertainment Center
Brisbane Bullets v New Zealand Breakers, Saturday 4 February 8pm AEDT, Nissan Arena
Melbourne United v Adelaide 36ers, Sunday 5 February, 2pm, AEDT, John Cain Arena
Perth Wildcats v Sydney Kings, Sunday 5 February 4pm AEDT, RAC Arena
Originally published as The Logue Down, Crosscourt Edition: Latest NBL news and whispers ahead of the final round of NBL23
https://www.codesports.com.au/basketball/nba/the-logue-down-crosscourt-edition-latest-nbl-news-and-whispers-ahead-of-the-last-round-of-nbl23/news-story/548376f337897bea50dc9d0f81e05694?nk=4f31bb00ecc3fa96781b110f25a49c36-1675284367 NBL Basketball News 2023: NBA scout says Australian league needs to raise salary cap, Larry Kestelman wants Singapore Slingers back