July 17 NBL21 Free Agency Analysis

From Liam Santamaria at nbl.com.au :

Follow the live free agency blog all day as we update signing with analysis as they happen.

With free agency underway, NBL Media’s Liam Santamaria is taking a look at each and every signing and breaking down what it all means ahead of #NBL21.


Signed by: Sydney Kings

The deal: Three years (player option final year)

Age: 23

2019-20 team: University of Miami

2019-20 stats (per game): 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 40.8 FG%, 34.4 3P%, 88.2 FT%

Projected role: The Kings needed to add some shooting on the wings and, despite being a rookie, Vasiljevic will bring that to the roster from day one. 

If Didi Louzada is with the Pellies, ‘DJ’ will likely start at shooting guard on opening night. Heck, he may even start there anyway, with the 6-foot-5 Brazilian possibly sliding up to small forward.

Quote: “Will (Weaver) just wants me to come in and develop my game to the highest level so I can make the jump to the NBA in the coming years. He wants me to do what I do best and that’s shoot threes and score, but also help me in the areas that I still need improvement on.” – Dejan Vasiljevic.

My take: Sydney’s offence generated a heap of perimeter looks last season but the Kings were simply not able to knock them down with any kind of consistency. In fact, they finished the year ranked second-last in three-point percentage, connecting on just 33.9% of their long range attempts. Add Kevin Lisch’s retirement to the mix and their need for a long range marksman became an absolute must-have. 

That’s where Vasiljevic will help. The University of Miami graduate saw his three-point efficiency drop off slightly in his senior year but, make no mistake, he’s an absolute gunner and will be given the green light by Weaver to let that thing fly.

Vasiljevic was the leading scorer for Australia at the World University Games last year on a bronze medal-winning squad that featured Will Magnay, Jack White and a host of other young NBL talent. In fact, he was the tournament’s third-leading scorer overall, putting up 20 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the floor.

The kid can really go and, considering he has a Euro passport, signing him to a long-term deal is a genuine coup for an organisation that has quickly become a destination club for young players with NBA dreams. 


Signed by: Adelaide 36ers

The deal: One year

Age: 25

2019-20 team: Legia Warszawa (Poland)

2019-20 stats (per game): 6.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 21.4 3P%, 53.3 FT%

Projected role: Back-up power forward/centre.  

Quote: “Keanu’s athleticism and energy are two things that our roster has been lacking and it’s going to be exciting to see him grow as a player.” – Conner henry (Adelaide 36ers head coach)

My take: Pinder is a super athlete who can finish plays in transition, catch lobs in the half court and, every now and then, will send an opposition shot sailing into the fifth row. 

That kind of athleticism is precisely what this Adelaide roster needs and his ability to play both the four and the five should make him the first big off the bench behind Johnson and Humphries.

This is not a signing that moves the needle for the 36ers, but it’ll certainly be fun to watch Tiny’s son finally running around in the NBL.


Signed by: Brisbane Bullets

The deal: Two years (club option final year)

Age: 22

2019-20 team: Adelaide 36ers

2019-20 stats (per game): 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 47.6 FG%, 41.1 3P%, 65.6 FT%

Projected role: Back-up centre.

Quote: “One of the most exciting things is that Harry has youth on his side. We know that like all 22-year-olds, Harry has room to grow and I feel we are well placed as a club to help him with his growth.” – Andrej Lemanis (Brisbane Bullets head coach)

My take: Following an award-winning rookie campaign in 2019, Froling plateaued in his development last season and a fresh start in his home state should reinvigorate the talented big man.

Froling will give the Bullets a different look in the middle after Matt Hodgson picks up early fouls. After all, there aren’t many 6’11” bigs around who can shoot and pass as well as Harry and his unique skillset should work well within Brisbane’s system. Of course, that role will only increase if Will Magnay winds up in the NBA.

Speaking of Magnay, one of the selling points in this deal for Froling, I’m told, was the chance to work closely with Two-Way’s mentor, Bullets assistant coach Sam Mackinnon. The NBL legend has been instrumental in Magnay’s development over recent years and Froling hopes to similarly benefit from working with Sammy Mac.  

All in all, this feels like a good result for both parties, particularly Brisbane who hold the cards on the second year of the deal.


Signed by: Melbourne United

The deal: Three years

Age: 31

2019-20 team: Melbourne United

2019-20 stats (per game): 17.6 points, 2.4 assists, 42.1 FG%, 39.4 3P%, 83.9 FT%

Projected role: Franchise player.

Quote: “I want all the fans, members, sponsors and key partners to know that I am standing United with them – I’m eager to continue on this journey with them all. I am really looking forward to getting back out on court and helping this club achieve another championship.” – Chris Goulding 

My take: Chris Goulding ain’t going anywhere! The new Tasmanian franchise will need to look elsewhere for a cornerstone piece as Melbourne’s face-of-the-franchise has re-upped until the end of the 2022-23 season. 

Goulding’s three-year deal is fully guaranteed – no club, player or mutual options on the final year – and will make him the highest paid local currently signed to play in the NBL. And you know what? He’s worth every penny.

This is the deal Melbourne simply had to get done. After losing Casper Ware to Sydney last off-season they could not afford to let Goulding slip through their fingers – especially not to a rival NBL team – and it’s a credit to the entire organisation that the ink is finally on the paper. Bravo.

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