What you need to know heading into NBL21 Free Agency

from Liam Santamaria at nbl.com.au :

By Liam Santamaria

It’s been a long wait but the 2020 free agency period is finally here.

Delayed over three months by the Coronavirus pandemic, free agency will officially open across the NBL this Wednesday. Let’s gooooo!

There are some big names in play this off-season, including two members of last year’s World Cup Boomers team – Chris Goulding and Cam Gliddon – who are both currently out of contract.

Teams are also looking to bolster their stocks of local talent as they prepare for a season with a maximum of two imports on the roster.

So… what does each team need? Who will be going where? Let’s get ready for the free agency frenzy that lies ahead.

* denotes import


Current 2020-21 roster:

  • Daniel Johnson – signed a new three-year deal
  • Jack McVeigh – one year remaining on current deal
  • Obi Kyei – one year remaining on current deal
  • Brendan Teys – one year remaining on current deal
  • Daniel Dillon – one year remaining on current deal
  • Alex Mudronja – two years remaining on current deal
  • Josh Giddey – signed a two-year ‘Next Stars’ deal 

Free Agents:

  • Anthony Drmic 
  • Harry Froling 
  • Ramone Moore* 
  • Eric Griffin* 
  • Jerome Randle* 


  • Joey Wright (released)
  • Kevin White (released)

Head Coach: Connor Henry – signed a three-year deal

The Word: The 36ers have been linked to 2018 NBL Rookie of the Year Isaac Humphries as well as athletic forward Keanu Pinder so we await official confirmation of both those signings.

Meanwhile, Adelaide are strongly pursuing Hawks free agent Sunday Dech. The 26-year-old is hot property in the free agent market and is receiving interest from a number of teams after his breakout NBL20 campaign. Dech’s two former clubs, Perth and the Hawks, are both keen to bring him back but with a three-year deal on the table, the 36ers are currently leading that race.

Finally, the Sixers are in the market for an import combo guard but are in no hurry to lock that guy in.

“We’re prepared to see what the player market does globally and just see what shakes free,” 36ers GM of Basketball Jeff Van Groningen told SEN SA recently.

“We think there’ll be some really high level talent and we’re very confident that by the time our season starts we’ll have a very high level guard at that spot.”


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Will Magnay – re-signed a new two-year deal 
  • Nathan Sobey – two years remaining on current deal
  • Jason Cadee – one year remaining on current deal
  • Matt Hodgson – one year remaining on current deal
  • Tyrell Harrison – one year remaining on current deal

Free Agents:

  • Mika Vukona 
  • Reuben Te Rangi
  • Taylor Braun* 
  • EJ Singler* 
  • Lamar Patterson* 


  • Cam Gliddon (released)

Head Coach: Andrej Lemanis – two years remaining on current deal

The Word: There have been numerous reports linking former Adelaide duo Harry Froling and Anthony Drmic to the Bullets while both Cam Gliddon and Reuben Te Rangi appear set to join South East Melbourne.

The biggest question surrounding Brisbane right now is whether they’re able to re-sign Lamar Patterson. The do-it-all forward made his second straight All-NBL First Team last season and, if they can make the money work, the Bullets are keen to see him return. 

“Lamar knows how much we would love to have him back, and we know how much he would love to come back to us,” Bullets Assistant GM Sam Mackinnon told The Courier-Mail.

“However it has to be financially the right deal for the club and the player.”

Finally, there’s a bit of buzz around that the Bullets may be looking to add promising young Aussie guard Tamuri Wigness to their roster this season. Wigness has spent the past couple of years developing his game at the NBA Global Academy in Canberra and the diminutive guard impressed when he ran with Brisbane last pre-season.


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Majok Deng – two years remaining (mutual option final year)
  • Mojave King – signed a two-year ‘Next Stars’ deal
  • Kouat Noi – one year remaining on current deal
  • Mirko Djeric – one year remaining on current deal 
  • Fabijan Krslovic – one year remaining on current deal 

Free Agents:

  • Scott Machado*
  • Cam Oliver* 
  • DJ Newbill* 
  • Nate Jawai 
  • Jarrod Kenny
  • Anthony Fisher 
  • George Blagojevic 

Head Coach: Mike Kelly – re-signed a new two-year deal 

The Word: The Taipans picked up their options on Djeric and Krslovic as well as their half of Kouat Noi’s mutual option. They did not, however, pick up their options for reserves Anthony Fisher and George Blagojevic, making those guys free agents.

Last year’s runner-up MVP, Scott Machado, appears set to return which will be a great result for the Snakes. As for their other import spot, my understanding is that Cam Oliver is Mike Kelly’s preferred option after the 23-year-old turned heads last season with his dynamic inside-outside game, earning All-NBL Second Team honours.


Current 2020-21 roster:


Free Agents:

  • Angus Glover 
  • Sunday Dech 
  • Sam Froling
  • Daniel Grida 
  • Tim Coenraad 
  • David Andersen 
  • Todd Blanchfield 
  • Emmett Naar 
  • AJ Ogilvy 
  • Josh Boone* 
  • Darington Hobson*


  • LaMelo Ball

Head Coach: Brian Goorjian – signed a two-year deal 

The Word: The Hawks made a splash when they landed Goorjian as their new head coach but without a single player under contract, they still have plenty of work to do. 

Goorjian has been clear about wanting to re-sign the club’s core of emerging talent; a group made up of Sunday Dech, Sam Froling, Emmett Naar, Angus Glover and Dan Grida.

In positive news, the Hawks do appear set to finalise deals with three of those guys – Froling, Naar and Grida – with Froling expected to play a much bigger role in his second year as a pro. Naar, I’m told, is set to return on a new two-year deal.

ESPN’s Olgun Uluc has reported that the Sydney Kings are “the preferred landing spot” for Glover which, all things considered, is a major blow for the Hawks. Glover is a local Wollongong product and, at just 21 years of age, has loads of potential despite his extensive injury history.

As mentioned earlier, the Hawks also face stiff competition in their efforts to re-sign Dech. The defensive-minded guard is receiving strong interest from multiple teams, particularly Adelaide, after a breakout NBL20 that saw him nominated for both Best Defensive Player and Most Improved Player end-of-season awards. 

Lastly, one other name that has popped up for the Hawks in recent times is former Sydney Kings and New Zealand Breakers forward Deng Deng. The 28-year-old has seen limited action in the NBL thus far but, if signed, would add length and athleticism to the Hawks’ second unit.


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Mitch McCarron – one year remaining on current deal
  • Shea Ili – one year remaining on current deal
  • Casey Prather* – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jo Lual-Acuil – one year remaining on current deal
  • Sam Short (DP)

Free Agents:

  • Chris Goulding 
  • Sam McDaniel 
  • David Barlow 
  • Alex Pledger 
  • Tohi Smith-Milner 


  • Shawn Long* (Mobis Phoebus, South Korea)
  • Melo Trimble* (Montakit Fuenlabrada, Spain)

Head Coach: Dean Vickerman – two years remaining on current deal

The Word: Chris Goulding is the headline name of this year’s free agent class and all eyes are on Melbourne’s efforts to re-sign their franchise player.

United CEO Vince Crivelli told the Daily Telegraph that “the club is committed to trying to bring Chris back for next season and beyond” but the two parties are yet to reach an agreement. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, Melbourne appear set to announce the signing of Aussie rookie Jack White on a multi-year deal. The former Duke captain received offers from a number of NBL clubs over the past couple of months but was always considered likely to begin his pro career with United.


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Corey Webster – re-signed a new three-year deal
  • Tom Abercombie – two years remaining on current deal
  • Finn Delany – re-signed a new two-year deal
  • Rob Loe – re-signed a new three-year deal 
  • Jarrad Weeks – re-signed a new one-year deal
  • Terry Li (DP)

Free Agents:

  • Scotty Hopson* 
  • Brandon Ashley* 
  • Jordan Ngatai 
  • Thomas Vodanovich 
  • Ater Majok 
  • Ethan Rusbatch


  • RJ Hampton
  • Sek Henry (Pinar Karsiyaka, Turkey)

Head Coach: Dan Shamir – two years remaining on current deal

The Word: The Breakers have been moving and shaking this off-season, re-signing a bunch of key pieces and attempting to recruit some high-profile Kiwis to their program. 

Isaac Fotu broke their hearts when he decided to return to Europe but, as reported last week on NBL Overtime, Tai Webster appears set to join the squad. Corey’s little bro has spent the past two years playing for Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray and, when his signing becomes official, will instantly become New Zealand’s starting PG.

As far as their imports are concerned, Sek Henry is heading back to Turkey but the Breakers remain confident of re-signing Scotty Hopson, which is music to the ears of all NBL fans. 


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Bryce Cotton* – re-signed a new three-year deal
  • Mitch Norton – one year remaining on current deal
  • Clint Steindl – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jesse Wagstaff – one year remaining on current deal
  • Majok Majok – one year remaining on current deal 
  • Wani Swaka Lo Buluk – two years remaining (mutual option final year)
  • Luke Travers (DP) 

Free Agents:

  • Terrico White* 
  • Miles Plumlee* 
  • Damian Martin


  • Nick Kay (Real Betis, Spain) 
  • Rhys Vague (Kagawa Five Arrows, Japan)

Head Coach: Trevor Gleeson – two years remaining on current deal

The Word: It has been an eventful off-season for the two-time defending champs with the MVP re-committing on a new three year deal and Nick Kay leaving the Jungle to join Spanish club, Real Betis.

That leaves a gaping hole at power forward which head coach Trevor Gleeson told The Weekend West they are likely to fill with an import.

The resulting roster shuffle has meant that two-time champion Terrico White appears unlikely to return and the ‘Cats have been looking to recruit a local free agent to fill that void.

They swung and missed on Dejan Vasiljevic and have expressed their interest in bringing back former Wildcat Sunday Dech but do not appear to be in that mix.

Perth’s next target? Todd Blanchfield. The 29-year-old averaged 13 points per game for the Hawks last season and would serve as a nice addition as a floor-spacing threat on the wing; sharing that role with former Townsville teammate, Clint Steindl.


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Mitch Creek – two years remaining on current deal (player option final year)
  • Adam Gibson – one year remaining on current deal
  • Kyle Adnam – one year remaining on current deal
  • Dane Pineau – re-signing a new three-year deal 
  • Kendall Stephens – re-signed a new two-year deal (club option final year)

Free Agents:

  • John Roberson* 
  • Devondrick Walker*
  • Dan Trist 


  • Tai Wesley* (retired)
  • Ben Madgen (retired)
  • Terry Armstrong 
  • Deng Acouth (released)

Head Coach: Simon Mitchell – two years remaining on current deal (club option final year)

The Word: The Phoenix have been linked to former Brisbane Bullets pair Cam Gliddon and Reuben Te Rangi – two guys who will be looking for bounce-back campaigns after getting lost in the Brisbane shuffle last season.

Tai Wesley’s retirement, while robbing the Phoenix of a high-level player, has also given them some flexibility with their import recruitment. I’m expecting SEM to bring in a point guard and a centre as their imports, with a focus on length and athleticism in recruiting the big.

To close out their 10-man roster, the Phoenix are currently in the market for another big body to add depth to their frontcourt rotation.


Current 2020-21 Roster:

  • Brad Newley – one year remaining on current deal
  • Jordan Hunter – two years remaining on current deal (club option final year)
  • Shaun Bruce – re-signed a new two-year deal
  • Craig Moller – one year remaining on current deal
  • Didi Louzada – one year remaining on ‘Next Stars’ deal
  • Xavier Cooks – one year remaining on current deal

Free Agents:

  • Andrew Bogut 
  • Daniel Kickert 
  • Jae’Sean Tate*
  • Deshon Taylor* 
  • Lucas Walker 


  • Casper Ware* (opted out) 
  • Kevin Lisch (retiring) 

Head Coach: Will Weaver

The Word: The Kings announced last week that they Xavier Cooks had re-comitted for the upcoming season after the talented Aussie opted out of his contract a couple of months ago. That was a great result for Kings fans.

As for Bogut, Weaver told NBL Overtime recently that the Kings are proceeding as if the big fella is not going to play this season. It’s an interesting situation and I, like many others, get the feeling Bogut will probably join the team at some stage later in the season. 

In other news, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc has reported that the Kings have agreed to terms with Aussie rookie Dejan Vasiljevic as well as former Hawks guard Angus Glover. Both possess major upside and should enjoy playing and developing in Weaver’s system.

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