Kings set to sign NBL championship winner

The Sydney Kings look set to confirm NBL championship-winning guard Dexter Kernich-Drew as an injury replacement player.

Kernich-Drew, a 29-year-old 198cm wing who went undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft and won a title with Perth in 2017, will be signed to replace injured guard Angus Glover.

Glover is out for at least four weeks with an ACL sprain, opening the door for Sydney to secure another player.

Kings CEO Chris Pongrass confirmed that an injury replacement move was looming after the team lost four of its 11 players to injury as they eye a return to Sydney after being on the road since Boxing Day.

The seventh-placed Kings are reeling heading into Saturday’s clash against Adelaide following an ankle injury to Brazilian star Didi Louzada.

Louzada’s setback adds to Sydney’s woes, with Glover, Xavier Cooks and Daniel Kickert all on the sidelines.

The Sydney Kings have lost four of the team’s 11 players to injury, so the signature of championship-winning guard Dexter Kernich-Drew can’t come sooner. Picture: Stewart McLeanSource:News Corp Australia

Pongrass praised the players for pushing through the injuries but declared an injury replacement would be a major boost for the team.

“I’m so encouraged by the passion that our players are playing with,” Pongrass said as the Kings look to announce Kernich-Drew, who also played 18 games for Cairns in 2018/2019.

“We’ve gone through that many players – it is frustrating, but they keep going and they have been on the road since Boxing Day.

“Being away from for so long starts to take a toll, but the incentive is to get them home to Sydney and continue to fight and keep our head above water until the reinforcements arrive.”

Pongrass expects a few injured players to return in the coming weeks.

“We are hopeful with Didi and Kickert in the next couple of weeks, and we’ve set a longer timeframe with Cooks,” he said.

“They are all injuries that we can’t control, and most of them have been guys landing on other guys’ feet.”

Didi Louzada on crutches after sustaining an injury against the Brisbane Bullets. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Pongrass is grateful that the club can sign injury replacement players, but he conceded the system wasn’t perfect from a financial point of view.

“We can sign injury replacement players, which can change the cap figures in that the new player’s contract figure goes on your books,” he said.

“From a financial perspective, you are essentially doubling down because you are still paying your injured player and someone else.

“You might save money on your subsidy, but that is nowhere near offsetting what you are spending on a new player anyway.

“It is just unfortunate as we’ve lost two starters and two rotation guys.”

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