NBL free agency: Are the Brisbane Bullets stuck in no man’s land?
Without the financial muscle of the league’s heavyweights or a clear team building philosophy, Brisbane appears destined to ride the treadmill of mediocrity.
Credit: May Bailey Photography
Building a certified contender without a big budget is obviously tricky. In a league with a soft salary cap, a deep pocketed owner is the biggest competitive advantage a team can have. We can’t tell for certain, because of the continued lack of transparency when it comes to team spending, but all indications seem to point out that the Brisbane Bullets don’t have that competitive advantage.
As Jordan McCallum has noted, in his last press conference as coach of the Bullets, Andrej Lemanis indicated that the Bullets’ ownership group is not investing the resources necessary to be highly competitive in the NBL.
Every indication we’ve received since, further illustrates Lemanis’ point. The greatest piece of evidence is that last season they recruited Isaiah Moss — a good player at NZNBL level but a good bench player at best in the NBL — to be their third import. Moss played just 13 mostly unproductive minutes per game last season — he’s not a signing you make, unless you’re struggling for cash. Given their slow start to free agency, the inability to retain Robert Franks when he evidently wanted to return to the NBL (like Vic Law the year prior), and their collection of signings so far, it doesn’t seem like much has improved budget-wise this offseason in Brisbane.
Again, it’s unclear what Brisbane’s actual financial situation is, but there are few signals out there suggesting that they have comparable financial muscle to any of the league’s heavyweights.
The odds are clearly stacked against the Bullets. Then again, winning in the NBL on a smaller budget isn’t impossible.
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