- National Teams
The London Lions have been left needing to reduce the size of their anticipated BBL roster after the league’s clubs have voted down their rule amendment request to be able to rotate the Americans they play each game.
Following their entrance into the Basketball Champions League this year, the Lions have already signed four Americans; Dirk Williams, Kervin Bristol, Kevin Ware and DeAndre Liggins – along with Portuguese passport holder Ed Lucas as their European (who is classed as home grown in the BCL) – and were hoping to add two more Americans with the intention of rotating them throughout the BBL season for load management and reducing injury risk with the added toll of a European campaign.
Currently you are allowed a maximum of five non-British players on a BBL roster, as the Lions were hoping they would be able to switch out their non-Brits on a per game basis depending on minute-load in the previous European game, i.e. the two Americans who played the most in the BCL game during the week, would not play in the BBL game the following weekend.
London were taking the learnings from Leicester’s injury-riddled foray two seasons ago, who have said they struggled with depth and managing the domestic and Europe schedule, and Head Coach Vince Macaulay was hoping to max out the seven non-home grown spots allowed in the Basketball Champions League, in line with the competition’s regulations.
However, it would have left him with two more imports than the British Basketball League allows after the league increased to four work-permitted players ahead of this season.
The club put in a request to the league for an amendment to the rules to allow teams to change work-permitted players more than three times, and rotate on a per-game basis (to stay within the 5 non-British player on an active roster rule) without limitation throughout the season but it was turned down in a vote by the other team-owners this week.
“It is disappointing this amendment did not get passed,” Macaulay told Hoopsfix.
“To give a British team the best chance of being successful in Europe – one of the BBL’s stated aims – we need to be able to have a deep enough roster to rest players across competitions.
“The schedule we will have in the BBL and BCL will be heavy with a lot of double-headers and this hurts our chances of remaining healthy through both campaigns.”
Meanwhile the league responded to a request for comment with the following statement:
“BBL clubs are supportive of each other and as such are keen to help each other where possible.
“Unfortunately on this occasion the clubs did not feel able to support the proposed change put forward by the Lions club”.
It means the Lions roster will remain at 14 – having announced their final signing of Byron Mullens on Thursday afternoon – opting not to sign another two Americans they otherwise would have done.
The Lions – who came under new ownership this off-season – also unsuccessfully proposed an increase in the BBL salary cap this off-season.