It’s unfair: Paupers slam Kings’ stacked roster
Rival NBL coaches have accused the Sydney Kings of having a roster worth four million dollars more than any other team - despite being able to spend the same amount as the ladder leaders.
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson started the critictism after his side's 104-85 loss to the Kings last Sunday by saying that the Harbour City franchise had four imports.
Gleeson was including Sydney's Brazilian shooting guard Didi Louzada as one of the team's imports even though he is a Next Stars signing.
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Next Stars players like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton aren't included in the salary cap as the NBL pays their wage.
Adelaide coach Joey Wright then chimed in on Tuesday when he was asked how teams close the gap to Sydney.
Wright cheekily replied: "Four million dollars."
The 8-1 Kings are loaded with talent, including former NBA champion Andrew Bogut and ex-title-winning Melbourne United guard Casper Ware.
There is no doubting Sydney's depth of talent but they are operating under the league rules.
Unlike the NRL's salary cap limit, the NBL changed its salary cap setup from a "hard cap" of $1 million to a "soft cap" of $1.1 million, meaning teams may exceed the soft cap provided that they pay a salary equalisation subsidy.
These funds can be filtered down to franchises that don't exceed the limit.
However this is a discretionary fund the NBL holds for required spending, which is different to the NBA where it's a distributed fund across clubs.
Sydney chairman and owner Paul Smith responded to the jibes on Twitter, accusing rival teams of being bitter.
"Really?" Smith said.
"Geez, I didn't see that coming? One coach says we have four imports. Another one says he needs four million. What's with the fours? Tell you what - we have a great assistant coach from Perth (Adam Forde) and a player that couldn't get a start in Adelaide (Deshon Taylor). We're cool."
In fairness, Sydney have bigger things to worry about ahead of Sunday's blockbuster clash against LaMelo Ball and the Illawarra Hawks.
The Kings are preparing for a record crowd when they meet the Hawks at Qudos Bank Arena.
The highest ever regular season attendance for a single NBL game in Sydney is 12,050, while the biggest ever crowd for a standalone NBL game in Sydney is 14,569 (both set last season against Melbourne United).
The biggest crowd for a single NBL game is 15,336 between the Melbourne Tigers and South East Melbourne Magic at Rod Laver Arena in 1996.
These records could be broken while a huge international audience is also expected to tune in to watch Ball who some experts have already predicted could be the No.1 pick in next year's NBA Draft.