NBA and Australia proving an insatiable mix
ANDREW Bogut, Zach Randolph and Dante Exum are paving the way for other Australian and non-Australian NBA stars to consider ownership in a resurgent NBL competition.
That's the reality, according to South East Melbourne Phoenix GM Tommy Greer, who has seen the benefit of having Exum and former NBA All-Star Randolph involved as part-owners of the league's newest franchise.
Greer revealed that Phoenix owner Romie Chaudhari, who also co-owns Welsh football side Swansea City, is constantly in his ear about interest in the NBL.
"Romie is always telling me about other players who are reaching out with interest about the league," Greer said.
"I think it is just a matter of time before we get more and more of these kinds of people wanting to get involved and dip their toe in.
"I think no doubt the likes of Delly (Matthew Dellavedova), (Patty) Mills and (Joe) Ingles will look at the NBL and ownership. Bogut was the first."
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger confirmed the league had been inundated with curiosity from potential owners.
"We have been fielding plenty of expressions of interest from players and their agents and families both here in Australia and overseas - and in particular the US," Loeliger said.
"There is no doubt that the visibility and success of the current class of Next Stars has contributed to the level of interest we are experiencing."
Ingles has always stated a desire to one day return to Australia after his NBA career with the Utah Jazz.
He regularly watches the NBL and previously said he would consider owning a franchise in the future.
"Maybe - I'm not going to go into it to lose money," Ingles said.
"I don't think there are too many teams making much money, but if it keeps going on the up and up and it's the right situation, me and Andrew Bogut will have a coffee and talk about it one day when we are old and retired.
"But Bogut can be the majority owner."
Greer can recommend Exum's involvement as a part-owner with the Phoenix.
"South East Melbourne is Dante's region for basketball and he has stayed heavily engaged during the season," he said.
"He often comments on social media and stays in touch with the other owners about the direction of the club."
As for Exum one day pulling on the South East Melbourne colours in the NBL, Greer is quietly confident.
"Dante has well and truly entrenched himself in the NBA but you hope that if ever did return and he was picking an NBL team that he'd pick us," he said.
"We'd be doing something wrong if he didn't."