Basketball: Henry released by Breakers

Leon Henry. Photo / Getty Images
Leon Henry. Photo / Getty Images

New Breakers coach Dean Vickerman has made his first big move since taking over the reins from Andrej Lemanis last weekend and released Leon Henry from the second year of his two-year contract.

Henry is now a free agent and able to seek a new contract with other Australian NBL clubs immediately. The club acted swiftly to give him a chance to find a new team.

Each team has to fit inside a salary cap (A$1 million) and points system (all 10 players are rated between one and 10 and must fit under 70 points) in an attempt to create a level playing field and the club were feeling the squeeze.

Henry was a four-point player but was coming under pressure with the likes of Reuben Te Rangi, a one-point player, emerging from the development squad.

"This was a difficult decision for the club, and particularly for Dean as one of the first decisions as head coach,'' Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said.

"Each year we have to negotiate the salary and points cap systems. For the coming season we have to manage our options under both systems and we have had to take the tough option of releasing Leon from his contract.''

Henry played for the Breakers on a short-term contract while Kirk Penney was trialling with NBA outfits in the US and impressed enough to earn a fulltime contract for the 2011/12 season.

He has played 57 games for the three-time champions, averaging three points and 2.4 rebounds a game, but had less of an impact in the last season.

Vickerman praised Henry for his contribution to the club and the way he took the news of his release.

"It was one of the toughest things to do as a coach,'' Vickerman said. "I love Leon. He was a part of the three championships. It was an extremely tough decision but, with the points system and positions on our roster next year, it just didn't align for Leon.''

Vickerman said Henry had been understandably disappointed with the news, but had taken the decision with class and professionalism.

"He was unbelievable. You always wonder how people will react, but he reacted in the best possible way. He was very thankful for the opportunities he had and understood the decision.''

The Breakers currently have six players under contract for the 2013-14 season, with two local positions and two import positions to be confirmed.

They have offered league MVP Cedric Jackson a three-year deal, which also maps out a road to playing for the Tall Blacks, but Jackson is chasing a return to the NBA. The club are also keen to get backup centre Will Hudson back for another season.

Dillon Boucher retired at the end of the last season.

The contracted players are: Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton, Daryl Corletto, Alex Pledger, Mika Vukona, Corey Webster.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 30 Aug 2014 00:19:55 Processing Time: 32ms