Brose Baskets Bamberg and Brian Roberts will remain together after all as the two-time defending German BBL league and Cup champions re-signed the American point guard to help replace injured playmaker John Goldsberry.
Roberts played a huge role in Bamberg repeating both their crowns last season and was rumored to be on his way to a French club. But Bamberg general manager Wolfgang Heyder found the necessary funds to bring back the 25-year-old Toledo, Ohio native Roberts, who will now serve as the club’s number one point guard.
“Brian continually developed during his time with us and was on the court for all of our success. We are fully convinced that he do an even better job in the role as playmaker, which he did over long stretches last season,” said Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming.
“I agree entirely with Chris. We fully trust Brian in the role as the first option as playmaker after his development until now. And we are thrilled to welcome back to Bamberg a really winner and a pleasant athlete,” said Heyder.
Bamberg had tried to re-sign Roberts after last season but could not afford his asking price. But after it was determined that starting point guard Goldsberry would be out up to eight months with knee surgery, Bamberg re-visited the idea of bringing Roberts back.
During his two seasons in Bamberg, Roberts had made a name for himself – and increased his deserved asking price – with some spectacular games, including a number of big performances in the Euroleague, none bigger than his 23 points in Bamberg’s home victory over Olympiacos last season.
Roberts, who captured four titles in two years, had received offers from Spain and France and was even rumored to be joining ASVEL Villeurbanne. But he had not yet accepted any of them – apparently also due to switching his agent.
“Brian’s biggest wish is to lead this new team,” said Heyder.
Heyder admitted that the club has not yet fully found all the money needed to finance the Roberts re-signing but that additional funds by top sponsors Brose and REWE brought them far enough along to pull the trigger.
Along with the Roberts re-signing, Bamberg’s other off-season moves saw them added Marcus Slaughter, PJ Tucker and Julius Jenkins, the latter who was signed as Roberts’ replacement.
Bamberg were not the only club making moves at teams near the start of training camp.
Fraport Skyliners made their final two major acquisitions as they added point guard Justin Gray and power forward/center Jon Leuer – both on one-year contracts.
Gray, who is currently in the playoffs in the Chinese top league, takes over the difficult duties of replacing BBL MVP DaShaun Wood, who left Frankfurt for Alba Berlin along with head coach Gordon Herbert.
Gray averaged 25.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in China, including one game in which he scored 49 points with 10 three-pointers and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“He is a tremendous shooter and he will be our starter at point guard,” said Skyliners personnel boss Kamil Nowak about Gray, who played for Frankfurt coach Muli Katzurin in 2008-09 with Czech club CEZ Nymburk.
The Skyliners also added 6-foot-10 big man Leuer, who was selected in the second round of the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and would be eligible to leave at any time should the NBA lockout come to an end and he receives an offer – though he is not allowed to try out for a team.
Last season, the 22-year-old Long Lake, Minnesota native averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a senior at Wisconsin.
The 2009 league champions EWE Baskets Oldenburg also signed a player with NBA connections in acquiring 26-year-old playmaker Bobby Brown for one season.
Brown helped Alba Berlin to the German title in the 2007-08 season and then played two seasons in the NBA for Sacramento, Minnesota, New Orleans and Los Angeles. Last season he played for Polish side Prokom Gdynia before moving to Greek club Aris Saloniki.
“With his international experience and the qualities of head coach Predrag Krunic, Brown will lead the team next season,” said Oldenburg general manager Hermann Schüller.
Another BBL club added a new playmaker as BBC Bayreuth signed Kevin Hamilton, who had led Phantoms Braunschweig to the playoffs for the past two seasons.
Bayreuth would like to give more playing time to young German point guard Simon Schmitz and Hamilton would be able to play shooting guard as well.