Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.
The Brisbane Bullets have completed the signing of versatile 201cm forward Robert Franks. The 24-year-old had an outstanding college career at Washington State. In his senior season he was named in the All Pac 12 first team, averaging a conference best 21.6 points per game and finishing top ten in rebounds with 7.2 per game. Franks has professional experience in the NBA with the Orlando Magic and was an integral part of their G League affiliate, Lakeland Magic’s championship team. In the playoffs he averaged 16 points at an efficient 58% from the field and 8 rebounds per game.
The Brisbane Bullets’ season in the National Basketball League (NBL) ended in June, but don’t expect the team to bother minority owner Khris Middleton with its offseason business at the moment. “Right now, I’m definitely not involved on a daily basis at all,” said Middleton, who is currently playing in the NBA Finals and averaging 19.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game for the Milwaukee Bucks. “But it’s something that I am excited about.”
Middleton became a minority owner of the Bullets on April 9, joining forces with former NBA sharpshooter Kevin Martin, who is the majority stakeholder of the Bullets. Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young also owns a minority stake in the NBL team in Australia. “Khris got involved just through our little brotherhood that we have in the NBA,” Martin told The Undefeated. “The interest level was high. I couldn’t take everybody. So I just started talking to guys that I felt that was very smart off the court and then that’s when I ran into Thad and Khris. And Khris and Thad, they both just get it. If it wasn’t even basketball, they would just be successful doing something else.”
Several other current and former NBA players also have ownership stakes with NBL teams. The Houston Rockets’ John Wall and Dante Exum (a Melbourne native) and former NBA players Zach Randolph, Al Harrington and Josh Childress are owners of South East Melbourne. Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo and former NBA players Shawn Marion and Matt Walsh are part of the New Zealand Breakers’ ownership group. “Being a part of an ownership group is something I wanted to do, for sure,” Middleton said. “As a player it could be tough. But I realize the responsibilities I had wasn’t going to really affect my basketball career right now. But it’s something I think a lot of players are starting to trend towards is finding ways to invest their money, finding things to do with their money that can grow, and it’s something I’m interested in.”