Mojave King returns to NBL, JackJumpers sign Gak

NBA hopeful Mojave King will return to the NBL next season with the New Zealand Breakers.

The news comes on a bumper day of NBL roster movements; reigning champions Tasmania have signed big man Gorjok Gak, South East Melbourne have lured Jordi Hunter from the Sydney Kings and Melbourne United have looked to Rob Loe to solve their big-man issues.

King comes back to his country of birth following two seasons in the G-League, most recently turning out for the Indiana Pacers' affiliate the Indiana Mad Ants in their 2023/24 campaign.

The 21-year-old is yet to make his NBA debut but was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 47th pick of last year's draft, only to immediately join the Pacers as part of a four-team trade.

Before that, King played a season for the G-League Ignite, a now-defunct development team.

Blessed with natural athleticism, the wing joins the Breakers on a one-year deal, motivated by the chance to work with coach Mody Maor.

"His vision and the way he’s going to try to make the team play next season is everything I want to be a part of in my basketball career," King said.

He previously represented the Cairns Taipans and Adelaide 36ers during a 56-game stint in the NBL's Next Star program between 2020 and 2022.

King joins a Breakers side scuppered by injuries last season, but one that has re-signed superstar guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dane Pineau, and acquired Taipans big man Sam Mennenga.

Elsewhere, Gak has joined reigning NBL champions Tasmania after the franchise parted ways with American import Marcus Lee.

Gorjok Gak.
Former Phoenix big man Gorjok Gak reacts during a clash against Sydney last season.

Gak joins the JackJumpers from the South East Melbourne Phoenix on a one-year deal, with a team option for a second year.

The 211cm centre had an injury-interrupted 2023/24 season and averaged 15 minutes across just 17 games. 

Gak's signing comes a day after the JackJumpers announced Lee, who started in 32 of 34 games in 2023/24, would not be with the club next season.

The club has locked up most of their roster for 2024/25, with captain Clint Steindl, Anthony Drmic, Jack McVeigh, Fabijan Krslovic, Majok Deng, Milton Doyle, Sean Macdonald, Walter Brown and Will Magnay all committed.

Two-time NBL championship-winning centre Hunter became the latest player poached as part of the Phoenix's off-season spending spree.

The Kings' most consistent player in an underwhelming 2023/24 season, Hunter has signed a two-year deal and joins former Sydney teammate Angus Glover and Brisbane Bullets star Nathan Sobey in committing to the wooden spooners.

Veteran big man Loe has signed with United for the 2024/25 campaign after coming out of retirement to serve as an injury cover for the club's last campaign.

The 32-year-old will now help replace marquee centre Jo Lual-Acuil, who has left to explore overseas options, as uncertainty looms around the future of back-up big and NBA draft prospect Ariel Hukporti.

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