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Sharks hold off player contracting

The Southland Sharks are yet to start their player contracting process for the 2018 National Basketball League season as they await competition details.

Sharks general manager Jill Bolger said on Friday the focus was still very much on retaining the bulk of the this year's team but they hadn't yet moved to lock in players.

There had been some conjecture has to just how next year's Commonwealth Games would impact the 2018 NBL and if the Tall Blacks players would, in fact, be available for the entire competition.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in April next year which under this year's scheduling would clash with the NBL.

However, it is understood the 2018 NBL will likely start in late April and run through to the beginning of August.

There is also ongoing discussions around player eligibility rules which may also impact contracting.

On top of that there a suggestion an extra team might be added in 2018 which will mean eight teams instead of seven scrapping to sign players.

With the competition unlikely to start until late April, Bolger said they had plenty of time on their side, although would still like to have the bulk of the Kiwi players contracted by the end of the year.

"We are waiting for some decisions to be made, but we are at the point where we've got Judd [Flavell, coach] re-signed and we are now are looking at targeting the players we want to return."

Many of the 2017 Southland players stocks have probably risen this season given six players have progressed to the senior international ranks.

It may drive their value up a little, however, Bolger said they hadn't upped their player budget for about six years and were not about to do so anytime soon as they ensure they live within their means.

Bolger felt Southland was an attractive place to play given how the players were looked after in all parts of their life. They have also developed a reputation where players can improve while playing for the Sharks.

"The top Kiwi guys I'm sure would rather be well coached than go for the big money, I'm convinced about that."

Bolger conceded they would be closer to the top of the league, in terms of player budgets, than the bottom but felt that didn't solely result in attracting good players.

"If you look at the bottom three teams in the league, they've all had coaching issues, they've had changes in coaches for whatever reason.

"You need to have a coach who players want to come and play for."

Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times

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