Australia’s National Basketball League hopes to entice local players who are competing overseas to return home with changes to the rules announced today.
NBL general manager Jeremy Loeliger said the reforms aimed to establish the league as one of the best in the world.
“To that end we are looking to encourage those Australian and New Zealand players currently competing overseas to consider returning to the NBL,” he said.
Financial equality among the teams is the main new concession, with the former salary ‘hard cap’ of $1 million to be replaced by a ‘soft cap’ of $1.1 million.
Teams may pay players above this new cap as long as they contribute a subsidy to other clubs, who may otherwise find it difficult to compete with the high offers.
“In order to ensure that wealthier teams are not able to ‘stockpile’ talent on their benches when those players could or should be in the starting line-up of less wealthy teams, a talent-distribution threshold has been introduced which requires that any five of a teams’ players must, collectively, be paid no more than $400 000,” said Loeliger.
“These measures have been introduced to replace the existing player points system.”
The marquee player system has also been revised and will now only apply to Australian and New Zealand players. Only the first $150 000 of a nominated marquee player’s salary will be counted toward that team’s salary cap.
Australian Basketballers’ Association chief officer Jacob Holmes said the adjustments were a big step forward in re-engaging with Australian talent playing offshore while maintaining opportunities for local players to excel and grow.
Perth Wildcats season member Alex Taylor welcomed the move, saying it was important for the NBL to invest more in home-grown talent as international players tended to use the competition as a stepping-stone to bigger leagues.
“You have international players constantly interchanging, coming in for periods of two seasons, and then once they’ve proved themselves they are picked up by an NBA team,” he said.