ME
Earlier this year

LaMelo and RJ could leave before the end of the season

Matt Logue on The Basketball Show said he's hearing whispers from team managers that LaMelo and RJ 'could' end up leaving the NBL mid-season depending on their form and the standing of their teams on the ladder, and he also said that if they chose to do that, there is literally nothing the league could do to stop them.

This is some fairly disconcerting news that this is even being thought of or spoken of so early. But apparently it is an option that is on the table for these Next Stars players. He said that they could pull out mid-season to protect their draft stocks and this is even more likely if their teams look likely to miss playoffs.

What I have to ask is, is this what the NBL is putting hundreds of thousands of dollars in these kids pockets for - so they can just leave whenever it suits them? Wasn't the other option for them to play college for freakin' FREE and to play out the entire season there, as most college players actually do?

It is also interesting to wonder where this talk is coming from. Is this talk coming from their agents, or just people on the periphery wondering what may happen?

Apparently Logue has been in contact with the NBL, New Zealand Breakers and the Hawks, and the expectation is that they'll stay the season. But the fact is, is there is nothing that makes them do so. I know you can't keep anyone here against their will, but surely a contract is a contract and needs to be respected?

And then there is the extra weight this program carries this year, with the ESPN deal, the SLAM deal with the Hawks, Facebook Watch coming on board, and all the rest of it. All of this is banked on the golden goose that is LaMelo Ball actually playing the season. We haven't even played the first game and already questions are being raised that wouldn't be raised if these two were simply imports.

If these kids can just come and go as they please it makes a joke of our league. If they ditch us mid-season it tarnishes whatever credibility we've built and leaves two teams without starting point guards. If this is the route Next Stars is going to take, then I think it might be time to quit while we're ahead. All the extra attention is fantastic, but it could be setting us up for an almighty fall.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Well written ME.
Why sign future next stars if this could happen.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

A meteor could crash into Melbourne Arena and kill everyone in it.

Why have the owners poured millions into Melbourne United and the Phoenix, when they could all just die in a fiery hell.

If meteors can just fly around crashing into whatever they want, then t makes a joke of our league.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

I do think there would be a big risk to either of them shutting it down just to protect draft stock. The challenge for any international is that the pre-draft process is so immediately preceded by the NCAA tournament. How does a kid with Doncic's resume not go #1 overall? Because he's being seen by international scouts while GMs and the ultimate decision makers are watching March Madness.

All the advice to Zion was shut it down, don't come back after the sneaker blowout. But the gap between him at #1 and Barrett/Morant at 2 was already huge, he had nothing to gain. Unless all the frosh come out and disappoint, neither LaMelo nor RJ is not going to lock up #1 pick status by January. If all they want is to be lottery picks, maybe they pull the pin mid-season. But these guys took a different pathway and have #1 pick potential. I can see them wanting to chase that all the way through.

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ME  
Earlier this year

"A meteor could crash into Melbourne Arena and kill everyone in it.

Why have the owners poured millions into Melbourne United and the Phoenix, when they could all just die in a fiery hell.

If meteors can just fly around crashing into whatever they want, then t makes a joke of our league.

"
---

This is different to just throwing doomsday scenarios in the air. This is less 'what if an asteroid hit?' and more 'well there appears to be an asteroid on its way'. When you have chatter that agents are considering crapping on a deal they signed for hundreds of thousands of dollars and dishonoring the Next Stars concept and everything the NBL built around it, I think some serious concern about the issue is warranted.

---

"
All the advice to Zion was shut it down, don't come back after the sneaker blowout. But the gap between him at #1 and Barrett/Morant at 2 was already huge, he had nothing to gain. Unless all the frosh come out and disappoint, neither LaMelo nor RJ is not going to lock up #1 pick status by January. If all they want is to be lottery picks, maybe they pull the pin mid-season. But these guys took a different pathway and have #1 pick potential. I can see them wanting to chase that all the way through."

Fair point. My feeling is that their form in the NBL will be inconsistent and that they wont be able to lock anything in for themselves too early on. But still, it looks like the NBL is taking a pretty big gamble on these kids and so are the clubs. That is two starting NBL point guards right there who might get taken out of the league on the whim of their agents and the team and league can't do much about it.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Do we really think that "Matt Logue on The Basketball Show" actually talks to RJ or LaMelo's managers? Or is he talking to a manager of some NBL1 DP that thinks maybe this is something that might happen because it came to him in his sleep?

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Oh ok, I see

So your fear is that the Next Stars Program might be so successful that too many will want to come here next season?

Leading to Donald Trump declaring war on Australia?

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Lovebroker  
Earlier this year

This is a tough one.

If the Hawks or Breakers were to be mathematical impossibilities to make the playoffs, I would understand if Ball or RJ wanted to opt out.

These kids have a much higher goal to achieve, they could one day earn more in a year than the whole NBL salaries combined. Why would they want to risk that chance fora few games without meaning?

If they were bailing out on the eve of a GF series, that's something else entirely.

And if you asked the Hawks if they were getting possibly a top 5 pick in next year's draft, plus all the hype and attention, with this risk in tow, they would take it every day.

If you look at the other side, and told potential Next Stars that the NBL would have full control of when and how much they played, you will find less players would want to come here.

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ME  
Earlier this year

Matt Logue is a pretty credible basketball writer. He's not just some random bogan with a blog. A lot of the most reliable insights and stories out there have been broken by him. He also is the writer of Aussie Hoop Dreams book. The guy knows his stuff.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

I think the problem here is that you don't actually understand what the Next Stars program is?

I'll give you a clue: The title "Next Stars" refers to the NBA, not the NBL.

In regards to Lamelo, he could leave today and the program would already be a success.

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ME  
Earlier this year

For me, if you have 4 weeks left and the team is a mathematical impossibility to make the finals, fine. Go home. Totally understandable.

But talks of mid-season are pretty ridiculous and would be an insult to the program. You'd hope that the pay they receive from the league is reflective of the time they actually spend here.

The players should stay provided that their teams have a shot. Leaving just because your stock is where you like it is pretty immoral when you consider the investment made in you.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

"If they were bailing out on the eve of a GF series, that's something else entirely."

Why?

Again you are misunderstanding the entire purpose of the program.

Why do you think the Wildcats haven't signed a Next Star?

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ME  
Earlier this year

"I think the problem here is that you don't actually understand what the Next Stars program is?

I'll give you a clue: The title "Next Stars" refers to the NBA, not the NBL.

In regards to Lamelo, he could leave today and the program would already be a success."


No. I understand totally what the program is. The program isn't a charity case to make sure another American who was always going to be drafted gets drafted higher. The purpose of the program from the NBL's perspective is the continued promotion and growth of the league. The promise of that has not really been fulfilled if LaMelo leaves today. Don't get it twisted - this move by the NBL isn't selfless and altruistic. There needs to be a return on investment for them and that's only fair.

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Zodiac  
Earlier this year

Not sure this is true when Brian Bowen signed he was required to sign a 2 year deal so the Kings/NBL could get buyout money if signed by an NBA team.

Although not officially a Next Stars player Terrance Ferguson also signed a 2 year deal with the Sixers and the only reason Adelaide didn't get compo money when he was drafted by OKC is because they buggered up the paperwork.

I've never heard of Matt Logue or The Basketball Show but I would be waiting to hear this confirmed from someone higher up the food chain first.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

"The players should stay provided that their teams have a shot. Leaving just because your stock is where you like it is pretty immoral when you consider the investment made in you."

Oh FFS

Let me spell this out for you:

The purpose of the Next Stars Program is not to help NBL teams win games, or really to directly help them at all.

For a team like the Hawks, that's certainly a benefit and provides the team with the incentive, but its not the end goal.

The very GOAL of the program is to maximise the kid's Draft stocks, and hopefully by extension their initial standing.
If a Next Star becomes the #1 Draft Pick and goes on to become Rookie of the Year, then THAT is the ultimate success for the program.
Can you imagine the exposure we get?
Dads will be claiming their wives had sex with an Australian, just to get their kids into our league

Obviously, if there is an "optimum" time to leave the NBL, then that is when they leave.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Joey "Next stars can't leave you if you have no next stars!"
The guy is a genius!

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ME  
Earlier this year

"The very GOAL of the program is to maximise the kid's Draft stocks, and hopefully by extension their initial standing.
If a Next Star becomes the #1 Draft Pick and goes on to become Rookie of the Year, then THAT is the ultimate success for the program.
Can you imagine the exposure we get?
Dads will be claiming their wives had sex with an Australian, just to get their kids into our league"


Chances that either of these kids are the Number 1 pick as well as rookie of the year are pretty damn small. I refute your claim that the purpose of the program is solely their draft stock. If LaMelo or RJ leave mid-season and go number 1, there is a basketball team without their starting point guard for half a season. So how many NBL teams do you think are putting their hands up for that next year, even if the next shiny high school prospect is keen as hell to do it? Scribe said it best - "Not many, if any".

And what do you think it means for ESPN deals and Facebook watch? Who is going to sign onto the NBL when in their mind, an NBL season is "maybe" worth watching for "maybe" half a season?

And when it comes to exposure, LaMelo is the golden goose. You're not getting another LaMelo next year even if you have the favorite for number 1. Losing him early would be a big blow to the program and to the NBL while trying to make an international name. His coming number 1 in the draft, if indeed it happened, would have no more lasting affect on the league than the NBL being somewhere where maybe another kid will dip his toe in and piss off, leaving another team picking up the pieces.

Exposure is great, if players stick around for the season. If they dip their toes in and out they destablize teams and throw sponsorship and fan interest out of wack.

Of course being the springboard into the NBA for these guys is a positive thing, that will parlay into interest, revenue, and better imports coming here indirectly due to NBA scout interest in the league. But let's not get it twisted, these international viewers who are key to the continued revenue of the NBL through Facebook Watch are watching for LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, and the moment they leave, so do they.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

It all seems like BS to me, surely clubs have there nbl contract to cover the season. In saying all that contracts are not worth much now days. Time will tell.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

By the time mid season rolls around the NBL will have already counted their money. Lamelo is a cash cow who has already raised the profile of the league. The NBL will have made insurmountable progress and money by mid year

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ME  
Two months ago

"By the time mid season rolls around the NBL will have already counted their money. Lamelo is a cash cow who has already raised the profile of the league. The NBL will have made insurmountable progress and money by mid year"

Maybe you're right. But that doesn't make a team next year choose to pick up a next star and do it again if they spent half a season without their starting guards. But I do hope you're right. With eyeballs on us hopefully the league uses it as an opportunity to shine.

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Hoopie  
Two months ago

Agents had no hesitation persuading their players to pull out of the US team for the World Cup, even though it left the team high and dry. THEIR NATIONAL TEAM, FFS!!

They'll have even less hesitation pulling their Next Stars out of the NBL at the first whiff of damaging the image of the goods, whether it’s because the player can’t cope or they didn’t 'carry’ their team to the finals or there’s too much risk of injury. Contracts and loyalty won’t matter a [email protected]&k! It’s all about the agent maximising their cut and their payday, potentially for the next 15 years.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

The teams who wrote the contracts would have considered this happening. They're not that dumb. Early exit clause = forfeiting part of their package I’d imagine.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Just listened to Logue's "report". This is why journalism in 2019 has such a poor reputation. Logue said that "word out of NBL club land" meaning he spoke with someone at one of the teams that Hampton/Ball don't play for? Their speculation is that one of those two kids might leave if the Hawks/Breakers are eliminated from the finals.

Do we really think that LaMelo or RJ's agents in the US would call someone at a different NBL club to say that they are thinking of pulling them in 3-4 months time before the season even starts?

I'm sure that the intent of this was to get eyeballs on a fledgling podcast no one has heard of. So well done in that regard Matty.

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KET  
Two months ago

I chuckled at the meteor reply.

I doubt NBL sponsorship deals like ESPN, FBwatch, Slam are contingent on them playing a full season.

Did those two help get those deals? No doubt, they've been massive for the NBL value wise already. If they want to pull out towards the end of the season I don’t really see why that would be such a big issue. Disappointing? Perhaps, but the NBL won’t look bad out of it. It’s a professional league, players come and go.

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MACDUB  
Two months ago

"I do think there would be a big risk to either of them shutting it down just to protect draft stock. "

Why?

I don't see any risk to them in doing so if they have put up worthy numbers (the only possible 'risk' there is is if they shut it down and their stats aren't good enough to warrant a lottery pick but that's not a risk at all because with the advice they'll get from NBA teams/other people they won't shut it down if that's the case).

NBA teams wouldn't give a hoot if they decided to shut it down and it wouldn't at all affect their stock. It's not going to reflect badly on them and NBA teams won't hold it against them.

Kyrie played 11 games (and started just 8 games) before being taken number 1. Cleveland (and a lot of other teams) didn't care and he didn't affect his stock.



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Anonymous  
Two months ago

I think it's possible, but unlikely. I think this talk might have picked up after Melo played well in preseason. He then had a bad game. Both him and Hampton will be up and down, and if they’re genuinely interested in developing, as they’ve repeatedly said, then playing a whole season will do wonders for their development.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

This was mentioned on the last ep of overtime. They didn't think that melo or Rj would see out the season.
It would look very unprofessional if they do pull the pin mid season and not honouring a professional contract. Also draft stock could slip a little to ncaa players who are still playing and pushing for number 1 draft position.

The season hasn’t started yet and the hype has been high for months I think the next stars have already done what the NBL wanted them to and really they haven’t done anything yet. let’s just hope they stick around for awhile and help build the profile of the NBL

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Greggo  
Two months ago

Your original post pretty much contradicts your every word.

They could be gone mid season but they've been contact and said they wont... etc etc.

Literal scaremongering at this point

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robt  
Two months ago

The above discussion on leaving early has another side to it that I haven't seen mentioned.

What are the expectations of the NBA? That they send kids to the "2nd best league in the world" and expect those teams to depend on 18/19 year-olds to win championships or we won't draft you? I don't think so.

They're here to learn how to play with men in a great league. And from how they handle that experience. Will they really be a worthwhile high draft-pick? In fact, leaving a program early may just go against their "character" scores. It may be the worst thing that they can do.

If we are speculating on the whole story here, may as well throw my thoughts in there too!

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Luuuc  
Two months ago

I just wanted to add an important correction to some of the above.
If an object from outer space crashed into Melbourne Arena and killed everyone in it, it would be a meteorite, not a meteor.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Meteor aight!

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Nostraballmus  
Two months ago

Nostraballmus says thank you Luuuc, the only poster on this thread to make sense so far

Nostraballmus also suggests that the Next Stars will do whatever maximise their own situation vis-a-vis the Draft. It is their needs first and anything else a very distant second. They have come here for NO other reason and thus would leave for No other reason. And that's OK. Nostraballmus says lets not kid ourselves that this is anything else.

Nostraballmus also wonders, are there any Aussie kids that would benefit from the fast tracking into minutes and exposure that this programme gives individuals ? Next-Door Stars maybe ? Or are our best 18 year old Aussie's just not that good or still looking to college as the pathway ?

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Agree with the comment about character. In Melo's case there were questions. And he’s handled it really well so far. Surely, by continuing to play the season, being great team mates, and developing their basketball IQ and defence will help improve their stock.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Logue is a decent reporter, but this seems more like the Daily Telegraph wanting some BREAKING NEWS clickbait on the first episode of Heal's show, than anything else.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Macdub, you asked a question about part of a paragraph that was answered in the rest of the paragraph. Neither of those guys is going to put up numbers that lock him in as the #1 pick by the middle of the NBL season. If they shut it down over here and Tyrese Maxey or Cole Anthony or James Wiseman goes on a tear and leads Kentucky or Carolina or Memphis to an NCAA title, how many NBA teams are going to take the NBL product ahead of the NCAA one? None. Evidence already cited: Doncic. These guys could shut it down today and be lottery picks. They obviously want more than that.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Nope, people arguing in circles and getting all butthurt

And I'll ask you again, "why do you think The Wildcats don't have a Next Star?
It's because they don't need the publicity, and they obviously decided the risk and disruption wasn't worth any increment to the playing roster.
Even LK's own team, united, don't have one, for the same reasons.

Now contrast that with the Hawks, who need both the publicity and the boost, and obviously decided that the risk was worth it.
Same with the Breakers and SEM.

Sydney, well yes the need the publicity, they've actually signed a stash player, and possibly they figure that with their ageing starters a bit more depth is handy.

And I'll say it again. The purpose of the Next Stars Program, is the Next Stars. Success is measured in their success.

I don't profess to be an expert on the draft, but you're inferring a downside that just isn't there.
You're saying that somehow it will be optimum for their draft chances to leave early. I'm not sure I understand why, but ok, if that is the optimum point to maximise their draft chances, then that is exactly when we want them to go.

This isn't about selling a few singlets. It's about these guys getting drafted, early, having great rookies seasons, and hopefully coaches or commentators start attributing it to playing in our Professional league.

This is only the 2nd year its been run, and the first getting really top calibre players. Like any new enterprise, at first you drop the price and have giveaways to get sales and exposure. Once customers start flocking in, then you can start jacking prices up.
If the programs gets the recognition we want, and we start getting multiple quality applicants, then we can start stipulating tighter T&Cs

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UseTaHoop  
Two months ago

Nostraballmus

Has the Hoops oracle some insight into a meteorite striking the Palace of Pine in the southern settlement?

Has it been foretold that the 8000 head finals monster shall be silenced at the midpoint of the final that's grand?

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ME  
Two months ago

Had some conversations with some people who in the know. I'm not at liberty to give a name. But it is word out of the camp that yes, this is being actively considered. It's not conjecture. It's not assumptions or "meteorites". It's actively being considered depending on form, stock, and team performance.

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

Sydney stash player is starting, looking very good but as you say will probably put his future ahead of Sydney, ie don't play with minor injuries or risk any thing that could hurt his nba contract.

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Nostraballmus  
Two months ago

UseTa, props for referring to dearest Nostra with appropriate reverence. 'Hoops Oracle'rings true and also perfect for Nostra's segment on the next viral NBL vlog blog or chog

In UseTa's words Nostrabaldmus has also somewhat unfathomably seen one potentially more full of shite than him at baseless ramblings and thus respectfully encourages UseTa to get ya own material bro

FWIW Nostra does see something falling from above but not threes from BallBoy rather a sh*tstorm of epic proportions the unfortunate but more and more likely moment one of the StarsofNext's draft stock is unceremonious snapped by a wayward NBL back screen

The 8000 head monster sounds like a party Ballmus went to once he really enjoyed. Nostra does foretell silencing of the Monster of the West by a southern Monster risen again, while forlorning hoping that the impending local crusade not obscure the inquisition needed post haste on the Chinese bloodbath at the hands of Lemonass, lest the crusade to Tokyo once more yield no holy grail

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

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Anonymous  
Two months ago

"This is the first time I've heard about that and you've got nothing to worry about," Shamir said. "RJ will play a full season at the New Zealand Breakers."

And Hampton confirms: "My plan has always been a full season here.

"My guy has control of everything, but my plan is always to play a full season.

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