Signs of the times… Men’s basketball’s biggest seismic shift in history
It was one of the most epic free agency periods in professional basketball history. The “air conditioned league” has seen a tectonic shift in the basketball world, with top stars hitting free agency and a chain reaction of top players leaving the league. Fans are excited as the teams that landed the “big fish” and bolstered their rosters look to compete for championships next season.
As the free agency period ended on Feb. 22, 29 of the 47 free agent-eligible players have completed their contracts. Fifteen players re-signed and 14 players moved to other organizations. For the 13 unsigned players, excluding the five who retired, 10 teams have until noon on the 23rd and 25th to submit letters of intent. If no offers are received, the players will renegotiate with their original clubs.
This year’s free agency was a big one, with some of the biggest names in the game hitting the market. And most of them were shocked to change their jerseys. It started with Moon Sung-gon (30-196 cm), one of the main players of the ‘Unified Champions’ Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation. The ‘King of Defense’, who won the Most Valuable Player Award for four consecutive seasons, transferred to Suwon KT (five-year contract, 780 million won in total annual compensation), signaling a chain of moves. After acquiring Moon, KT sent national team forward Yang Hong-seok (26-195 cm) to Changwon LG for a five-year contract and a total of 750 million won in compensation. KT is expected to compete for the top spot next season with Moon Sung-gon at the helm alongside Heo Hoon, who is returning from military service.
메이저놀이터 The most shocking transfer is the departure of this season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Oh Se-geun (36-200 cm) to Seoul SK (three-year contract, total annual compensation of 750 million won). This is the first time in 12 years that the “franchise star” has left the team, having won four championship trophies since joining in 2011, including the franchise’s first title. SK will try to win the title next season with the legendary “52-game winning streak center duo” of Kim Sun-hyung and Oh Se-geun, along with foreign MVP Jamil Warney. The power-losing Ginseng Corporation signed 203-centimeter center Lee Jong-hyun for a total of 150 million won in compensation for one year.
On the eve of the free agency deadline, SK’s “bad boy” Choi Jun-yong (29-200 cm) transferred to KCC in Jeonju (5-year contract, 600 million won in total annual compensation), capping a hot transfer market. Choi is an “all-around” forward who led SK to the 2021-2022 season as the unified champions and was named MVP. Choi chose KCC, where 2020-2021 MVP Song Kyo-chang was discharged from the military, to join the Heo Woong-Seung-hyun-Ragan-A trio despite receiving a lower salary than expected. KCC is said to have succeeded in grabbing a big name to help them return to the top after 13 years.