Kings signing spree to save season
IT'S the spending spree the Sydney Kings hope will save their struggling season.
On the back of a poor 2-6 start and a calf injury to skipper Kevin Lisch, the Kings have sent out an SOS to the reigning NBL MVP guard point Jerome Randle and ex-NBA centre Jeremy Tyler.
Randle, who was playing with Turkish club Bahçesehir after his successful stint with Adelaide last season, will link with Sydney on a one-year deal with an option.
As a proven point guard, the Chicago-born 30-year-old will provide the Kings with a potent offensive strike weapon.
Randle averaged 21.3 points for Adelaide last year, as he led the 36ers to the regular-season title before falling to Perth in the grand final series.
He is expected to arrive in Australia early next week, with his first game to be against former club Adelaide on Saturday November 18.
Sydney have also secured experienced big man Tyler on a one-year deal to help improve their recent battle on the boards.
After being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 39th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, he played 104 NBA games with three clubs over a three-year span from 2011-2014.
Since 2014, he has been playing in the Chinese Basketball Association, most recently with Tianjin Ronggang - where he averaged 20.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game in the 2016/2017 CBA season.
Tyler's best season in the NBA came in 2011/2012, when he started the final 23 games of the regular season at centre for the Golden State Warriors.
He also played 41 games for the New York Knicks in 2013/2014 and scored a career-high 17 points in a game against the Boston Celtics.
Tyler is only 26, but he has already had an interesting career.
He was considered an outstanding frontcourt prospect in 2009, but he decided to forgo his senior year of high school in San Diego to play overseas with Maccabi Haifa in Israel before playing in Japan for Tokyo Apache.
Tyler also spent time in the NBA G-League and played for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2015 NBA Summer League, averaging 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Standing 208cm (6'10"), weighing 113kg (250lb) and boasting an enormous 7'5" wingspan, Tyler will add size, length and interior muscle to Sydney's frontline as the team looks to rebound from a challenging start to the season.
Kings managing director Jeff Van Groningen believes Tyler is a high-level talent who will add a presence to the roster, while his experience will be valuable for the team's rising big man Isaac Humphries.
"We feel Jeremy will help us with his size, rebounding and international experience," Van Groningen said.
"We planned to bring an American 'big' in once we secured the right player.
"Jeremy's three seasons in the Chinese CBA provided him with that.
"We also feel that Isaac is a future star, and for him to have another strong '5' on the roster will assist his trajectory."
Coach Andrew Gaze is also happy to add a player who provides immediate strength on the glass, an area the Kings have been endeavouring to improve.
"Jeremy will give us a strong presence down low, at both ends of the floor. His rebounding and shot-blocking will be great for us", Gaze said.
Tyler is expected to arrive at the end of the week and the Kings are hopeful that he will be in uniform for the team's Saturday night clash with Melbourne United at Hisense Arena.
The signings of Randle and Tyler means Sydney will part ways with import swingman Travis Leslie and combo guard Jeremy Kendle.
Kings officials met with Leslie on Thursday morning to inform him of their decision to release him, effective immediately.
"It's unfortunate that we have had to release Travis, who is a quality individual and contributed to our team and organisation", Van Groningen said.
"However we do need an impact player in the frontcourt to help us on the boards and provide a big presence in the post, and the most viable option in that regard is an import.
"We feel that along with our strongly-developing young centre Isaac Humphries, an import '5' will assist our team at this time.
"That led to this difficult decision to release Travis.
"We have absolutely no doubt that Travis will continue to be a successful professional wherever he next plays. He'll be an asset to whatever organisation he joins - as he was here."