Cats hope Kay will stay
Perth Wildcats assistant coach Jacob Chance is confident that star big man Nick Kay will remain at the club for the 2020-21 NBL season, as all clubs brace themselves for big name departures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chance’s comments came in the aftermath of star import Bryce Cotton walking away from the final year of his deal to pursue opportunities overseas.
Cotton had his contract salary cut by 50% as one of the highest paid and highest profile players of the league, and fears remain that other players could follow suit before Monday’s May 4 deadline.
Chance was hopeful that the 27 year old would remain at the club.
“At the end of the day these are business and family decisions for these guys, it’s important they look at it that way as well. We hope we’ve done enough to make Nick stay in Perth,” he told Sports Drive on Friday.
“That’s the ultimate goal of the program, you want to have guys who come in to it and want to stay. These circumstances are unforeseen, you can’t plan for a pandemic when you’re putting together a program. You have to deal with it as it comes.”
“It’s not something we can control, we’ve done our part now, our body of work with Nick is the last two years as it is with all our players. He’ll make a decision as best he can.”
The NBL confirmed on Friday that the new date for free agency had been pushed back to July 1st, to allow time for the market to become clearer as government advice changes for the COVID-19 restrictions.
Chance said he anticipated more star power would be lost from the league because of the agreement between the Australian Basketball Players Association and the NBA, which saw all players take a financial hit for their playing contracts next season.
“I expect In the next 24-48 hours there will be a few more high level players as well (walk from their contracts). I think what we need to keep understanding is these guys are doing this just to keep their options open.” He said.
“There’s a lot of guys who will opt out and then opt back in come July 1st, there’s deadlines involved and they are going to make decisions that are right for them.”
Chance said he expected players to stay in the league rather than flock elsewhere.
“I think you will see a lot of players opting back in come July purely because the Australian league might be the only league going in the world, there still might be travel restrictions in place,” he said.
As a player in those positions losing that kind of money makes their life more difficult at this point in time.”
The 26 year old Wildcats assistant, who has been a part of the staff since 2015 also reflected on Bryce Cotton’s impact and legacy at the club, having arrived in early 2017 with the club at the bottom of the table.
“It’s unreal. Three and a half years. I reflected pretty hard yesterday, going back and even looking at some old emails from 2016 when we were actually looking for an import. We were incredibly lucky at that point in time that we stumbled across Bryce.”
“We thought after winning in 2016/17 that he would never come back. To have him for three more seasons after that is incredible. I think the legacy he’s left with the fans and the people on the outside is just as strong as what he’s done within our organisation.”
“He’s an unbelievable human being, what he’s done for our coaching staff, our playing group, our younger players our older guys has been tremendous. No one would have a bad word to say about him.”
“It’s a terribly big loss, but you have to be happy with the decision he’s made.”