The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams remain the only team yet to announce a player for the 2023 Sal’s NBL season after the NBS Nelson Giants started rolling out some familiar faces and the Franklin Bulls hit the headlines with a crowd favourite back on board.
Captain and 2022 Most Improved Player, Sam Dempster, was the first player named by the Giants last week, with fellow local Nic Trathen announced shortly after. Coach Mike Fitchett is expected to add a number of local names to his roster in the coming week.
The Bulls also finally entered the free agency fray with the news Isaac Davidson would be back in yellow and black, an announcement that will no doubt be just what Bulls fans were waiting to hear.
The SBS Southland Sharks remain active with the great news Zo Burton will again be in orange, while zippy guard Johnny Helu will return to the deep south after taking what he termed as a “gap year” in 2022 with the Wellington Saints.
With two imports still to come, the Sharks look like they are preparing to play at a quick pace this year.
And when it comes to returnees, the Night ‘n’ Day Nuggets welcomed back big man Jack Andrew after a season of development with the Perth Wildcats, while the ever-popular Nick Barrow is back with the Auckland Tuatara.
When it comes to imports, just the one to report from last week with the Steelformers Taranaki Airs adding 27-year-old shooting guard Armon Fletcher. The product of Illinois joins 2022 star, Anthony Hilliard, in what is starting to look like another strong Airs roster.
There was one announcement from left field as the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets announced there was an impending import change with highly touted guard LaGerald Vick electing to remain at home in the United States. The Jets have made it known a replacement will soon be named.
To check out all the latest signings visit the Sal’s NBL free agency tracker HERE.
Coach: Natu Taufale
Danny Pippen – restricted
Javion Blake – restricted
Tama Faamausili – returning
Liam Judd – Franklin Bulls
Tu Kaha Cooper – returning
Pafe Momoisea – returning
Jackson Stent – Canterbury Rams
Josh Leger – Franklin Bulls
Coach: Trent Adam
Anthony Hilliard – returning/restricted
Armon Fletcher – restricted
Richie Rodger – returning
Anzac Rissetto – Franklin Bulls
Marcel Jones - returning
Coach: Guy Molloy
Brayden Inger – returning
Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape – returning
Romaro Gill – returning
Johnny Helu – Wellington Saints
Alonzo Burton – returning
HAWKE’S BAY HAWKS
Coach: Everard Bartlett
Jordan Hunt – returning
Hyrum Harris – returning
Jordan Ngatai – Wellington Saints
Coach: Aaron Young
Rob Loe – returning / NZ Breakers
Reuben Te Rangi – Knox Raiders / South-East Melbourne Phoenix
Cameron Gliddon – NZ Breakers
Tom Beattie – returning
Nick Barrow - returning
Coach: Troy McLean
Tom Vodanovich – returning / NZ Breakers
Tohi Smith-Milner – Sandringham Sabres / South-East Melbourne Phoenix
Kenneth Tuffin – returning
Coach: Brent Matehaere
Sam Timmins – returning / NZ Breakers
Jack Andrew – returning / Perth Wildcats
Coach: Daniel Sokolovsky
Isaac Davidson – returning / NZ Breakers
Coach: Mike Fitchett
Sam Dempster – returning
Nic Trathen – returning
Coach: Judd Flavell