A look at the KBL’s free agent market as ‘a chain reaction of moves has occurred’

The 2023 KBL free agency period took place from May 8-22. Of the 47 total players, 15 re-signed with their original teams, while 14 opted to move on. Thirteen players remained unsigned and are awaiting letters of intent, while five players announced their retirement. The biggest names in the free agency market, Oh Se-geun (KGC to SK), Choi Jun-yong 토토사이트 (SK to KCC), Moon Sung-gon (KGC to KT), and Yang Hong-seok (KT to LG), all made headlines by choosing to challenge themselves with new teams. Here’s a timeline of the 2023 KBL free agency market, which saw some of the biggest moves in history.

This article was originally published in the June issue of Jump Ball.

May 11
Kim Hyun-ho, the first free agent signing
This year’s first free agent signing was Kim Hyun-ho. Kim signed a one-year contract with Wonju DB, his former team, for 100 million won ($70 million in salary and $30 million in incentives). After joining DB’s predecessor, Dongbu, with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2011 KBL rookie draft, Kim Hyun-ho has been a one-club man, playing only for Wonju. Despite suffering two major injuries, including rupturing his Achilles tendon, he has continued to play.

Last season, he averaged 5.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 45 regular-season games, playing 17 minutes and 27 seconds per game. His Altoran-like performance provided a much-needed boost amidst injuries to the guard corps. Kim Hyun-ho, who is eligible for free agency for the third time, re-signed with DB, increasing his chances of finishing his career in Wonju.

May 15.
Lee Ho-hyun hits the jackpot, moves to KCC—Bae Byung-joon re-signs with KGC
Lee Ho-hyun, who became a free agent for the first time in his career, hit the jackpot and headed to KCC in Jeonju. He signed a four-year contract worth 240 million won ($168 million won in salary and $72 million won in incentives). Last season, Lee put his stamp on a deal worth 60 million won ($54 million in salary and $6 million in incentives), a whopping increase of 180 million won. Last season, Lee averaged 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 23 minutes and 52 seconds in 47 regular-season games for the Seoul Samsung, increasing his value. KCC struggled without a point guard last season, and the addition of Lee will help solve that problem.

Shooter Bae Byeong-jun, who helped Anyang KGC treble last season, re-signed with the team for three years and 200 million won in compensation (180 million won in salary and 20 million won in incentives). Splitting time between the frontcourt and sixth man, he averaged 19:36 minutes in 46 regular-season games with 6.1 points, 1.0 three-pointers, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The minutes and points were career highs. Bae really shined on the big stage. In seven games in the championship finals with Seoul SK, he averaged 6.1 points and 1.4 three-pointers per game while playing just 12:56 minutes. With three more years with KGC under his belt, Bae will continue to anchor KGC’s perimeter in the new season alongside Lens Abando.

May 18
‘Final MVP’ Oh Se-geun makes surprise move to SK—Yang Hong-seok leaves KT for LG
May 18 saw one of the most shocking transfers in this year’s free agency market. KGC’s franchise star Oh Se-geun moved to Seoul SK. Jump Ball was the first to report the news. He signed a three-year contract with SK for 750 million won (550 million won in salary and 200 million won in incentives).

Oh is a symbol of KGC. He joined KGC as a first-round pick in the 2011 KBL Rookie Draft and helped lead the team to four championships. Although KGC made it a priority to keep him, he was disappointed and frustrated with the club’s attitude during the negotiations, and SK took advantage of this and actively courted him. He was also approached by Kim Sun-hyung and Heo Il-young, who had always been close friends, and left Anyang to spend the twilight years of his basketball career with SK.

With Oh joining the team, SK is already considered a strong contender for the new season. Kim Sun-hyung and Heo Il-young are healthy, and Jamil Warney is likely to be re-signed. If Ahn is able to return from his military service, the team will have an ultra-luxury lineup of Kim Sun-hyung, Ahn, Heo Il-young, Oh Se-geun, and Warney. The reactions of SK and KGC fans were extremely mixed. KGC fans are still in shock. The majority of KGC fans were proud of Oh’s existence. It is no exaggeration to say that it was the saddest day in the history of the Anyang franchise.

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