NBL: Struggling Brisbane Bullets confident bright future

Bullets chief executive Peter McLennan insists Aron Baynes remains committed to Brisbane’s cause despite the club’s woes potentially damaging the Boomers star’s hopes of returning to the NBA.

The Bullets’ already disastrous NBL season went from bad to worse on Wednesday night when they were suffered a demoralising 49-point home loss to the Sydney Kings.

It was Brisbane’s 16th defeat in 21 matches this season and it’s hard to imagine the Bullets turning around their form in time for Saturday night’s home clash against Melbourne United.

The Bullets’ plight has led to them hiring American Stu Lash as the club’s senior basketball advisor.

Lash – who spent five seasons on the staff of the Memphis Grizzlies – will work with McLennan, the Bullets’ general manager of basketball Sam Mackinnon, the coaching staff, play an “active role in key planning moving forward” and act as a link to the club’s ownership group, particularly co-managing partners Jason Levien and Jake Silverstein.

McLennan said the addition of Lash would only help former San Antonio, Detroit, Boston, Phoenix and Toronto big man Baynes – who joined the Bullets in the off-season amid great hype after suffering a career-threatening neck injury at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 – in his bid to return to the NBA.

“We know where we are with ‘Baynesy’ – ‘Baynesy’ is here for another season,” McLennan said.

“For all of our players and our young kids coming through, having someone like Stu on the ground and with his network is actually a valuable asset to open doors and help people get to that (NBA) pathway.

“We want to be that progressive club. We want players to come through the Brisbane Bullets. We want to be known for that, and we want to open up doors.

“Stu enables that (and) not many other NBL teams can do that. ‘Baynesy’ should be viewing Stu as a possibility to talk to people over there (in America).

“I’d love to see him get back into the NBA. It will hurt us but we want to see him get there and be a part of that process if we can help that, and I think Stu can potentially help.”

Lash will also play a key role in Brisbane’s search for a permanent head coach.

Interim coach Greg Vanderjagt will remain in charge until the end of the season and is in contention for the permanent position.

An extensive review of the club’s operations on and off the court will also be conducted, with McLennan admitting his job was also on the line.

“I need to be looked at too,” he said.

“I know how the game works. If I’m not the guy, and the owners will determine that, have an easy conversation with me.

“It’s not a hard one because the best thing for all of us here is the best thing for the club. There’s no individual bigger than the club … but I equally believe in how we’ve grown the club.

“I’m not immune to the circumstances that we’re in. I would encourage the owners to look at me as part of that review. They have to and I’m OK with that.”

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