SEM going after Casper Ware.
South East Melbourne is poised to make an aggressive pitch for NBL superstar Casper Ware.
Melbourne United remains in the box seat to retain the explosive free agent guard, a revelation in the league the past three seasons, but the Phoenix will ask the question should the NBL grand finalists be unable to broker a deal.
Ware, like most imports, has previously put off signing NBL deals until late in the off-season, following any potential NBA and Euro-League opportunities.
Phoenix general manager Tommy Greer confirmed the franchise's interest in free agent Ware.
"We would be interested in a player of his standard," Greer told the Herald Sun.
“We’re going to go hard (in free agency), we’re going to go early, obviously we’re the new kids on the block and need to get out and make a bit of noise and target guys that we want.
“It’s not a massive free agent market, we know the guys we want and we’re going to move pretty quickly to lock them in.”
Ware is one of eight United free agents, including Josh Boone, DJ Kennedy, David Barlow and Craig Moller.
“They won the championship two seasons ago, they were runner-up last year ... there is some pieces that any team would like to have on their roster,” Greer said.
The Phoenix opened free agency with a bang yesterday, filling the first of its three import slots with two-time NBL champion Tai Wesley, on a three-year deal.
Wesley, 33, who moved to New Zealand Breakers last season after helping United win the 2017-18 NBL title, will partner explosive forward Mitch Creek, veteran scorer Ben Madgen and young gun Chima Moneke at South East Melbourne.
Wesley posted career-high numbers in points (14.4) and assists (3.5) last season.
But Wesley’s hard edge and familiarity with the league was as much a consideration for the Phoenix as the veteran’s ability to create off the dribble and attack the glass.
“You really know what you’re going to get out of Tai,” Greer said.
“Rather than going with that 25 year-old (American import) out of college who is going to be adapting to a new situation, a new country, a new style of play, comes with all sorts of risks.
“He’s (Wesley) been a proven, dominant player in the NBL … he was absolutely hot property on the free agency market so we’re excited he’s decided to come back and play for South East Melbourne.”