King-sized blow: Sydney lure Casper Ware from Melbourne United
Last year Sydney Kings won the race to sign Andrew Bogut. This year they have nabbed championship winning import Casper Ware from Melbourne United.
Ware, 28, has been among the best import point guards in the NBL for the past three seasons leading Melbourne to the title in 2017-2018 then a return to the grand final this season where they fell to Perth Wildcats.
The former NBA guard has starred around the world and was hugely popular among Melbourne supporters and his teammates because of his ability to both score in bunches, set up his teammates and play strong defence.
Best of all, Ware was always willing and able to make game winning and game-changing shots as he did in his first meeting with the Kings back in 2016 when he nailed a game-winning jump-shot early in his time with United.
This off-season it was always going to be tricky for Melbourne to keep him with the Kings and other foreign clubs chasing his signature and Melbourne wanting an earlier answer about his plans, the previous season they allowed Ware to explore his NBA chances before re-signing with them after NBA Summer League.
For the Kings, Ware is the perfect point guard to pair with Bogut and returning veterans Kevin Lisch and Brad Newley as he will be able to shoot, get to the basket or setup his teammates for high percentage shots.
Bogut, who is in the US preparing for the NBA playoffs with Golden State Warriors, turned attention to Ware’s signing late on Thursday with a tweet predicting a free agency announcement to shock the NBL.
New Kings coach Will Weaver worked with Ware when they were both a part of the Philadelphia 76ers.
"It's a rare privilege to team up again with one of the most enjoyable people I've ever coached," Weaver said.
"Clearly, adding a player of Casper's calibre is exciting for our team but we are equally pleased to benefit from his competitiveness, character, and selfless mindset.
"The best players always want great teammates so his choice to become a King is also a compliment to the men on our roster and a reflection of our commitment to provide Sydney with a team it will rally around."
Ware is currently in Poland finishing the European season with Stal Ostrów Wielkopolski and he said the move to the Kings was a difficult one.
"I'm really happy to be joining the Kings," Ware said.
"It was a big decision I had to make, but this is a new challenge for me and I'm excited to get stuck into it.
"I'll always respect the time I had in Melbourne because of winning a championship there, but with Will and Andrew and the roster they are putting together at Sydney, I'm excited about what's ahead."
The Kings have Bogut, Ware, Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley, Daniel Kickert and rookie centre Jordan Hunter signed for next season.
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