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NBA Aussies' earnings headline Australian basketball's return to relevance
Australian basketball has been on a steady climb in recent years, and our Aussies in the NBA have just proven it once again, with multiple free agents signed to solid contracts in the 2017/18 season ahead.
Boomers big man Aron Baynes agreed to a $4.3 million, 1-year deal with the Boston Celtics earlier this week. His deal comes after Joe Ingles and Patty Mills re-signed with their respective teams, while Andrew Bogut has yet to ink a deal with an NBA team.
Bogut however, has confirmed that several teams are closing in, and that a deal could be done soon, within the next week or two.
Whilst Joe Ingles still holds the title for being the highest paid NBA Aussie player, Baynes' addition to the collective paycheck is still impressive.
Salaries are a firm indicator of value, or at least perceived value by the team. Our Australians are slowly, but steadily earning a reputation in the NBA as valuable contributors.
Think about Matthew Dellavedova's reputation as a gritty defensive stopper, or Patty Mills' continued maturation as a point guard who can score. How about Joe Ingles, ultimate glue guy and consummate Jack-of-all-trades?
Let's not forget about Ben Simmons, who was drafted first last year, or Thon Maker, who had a breakout rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Even Jonah Bolden, who was drafted 36th this year, is turning heads at the Summer League with his versatility on both ends of the court.
It's not only within the the NBA that Australian basketball is being recognised either; the depth of talent could, and will translate onto the international stage, with all eyes keenly set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The impact of Australians are becoming more and more keenly felt in the NBA landscape with every successive season that passes, and there's never a better time to be an Australian basketball fan.