New Taipei Kings replacing Bay Area Dragons in EASL
MANILA, Philippines–The New Taipei Kings will be replacing the disbanded Bay Area Dragons when the East Asia Super League opens this October, the league announced on Tuesday.
“We look forward to bringing top Japan B.LEAGUE, Korea Basketball League (KBL), and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams to New Taipei in front of the Kings’ sellout crowds,” EASL chief operating officer Matt Beyer said in a statement.
“The New Taipei Kings are focused on building a tradition of excellence and part of that is playing in the toughest competition available to us,” said team owner Phil Chen.
“We’re very excited to join EASL in the upcoming season to face off against the top professional teams from around the region.”
New Taipei, bridesmaid of the last P.League+ season, is coached by Ryan Marchand and starred by Joseph Lin, brother of former NBA Asian star Jeremy. The Kings have also signed up NBA veteran and international journeyman Byron Mullens as their import.
The Kings are taking over the slot of the Dragons, who were broken up earlier this week reportedly because of financial woes. The latter squad has already signed up several players for the new season, including Cedrick Barefield, a Filipino-American guard who backstopped the squad during the EASL’s Champions Week in Japan.
Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian, who is neck deep in calling the shots for Australia in the Fiba World Cup, said he was stunned to hear of the Dragons’ disbandment.
“I’m taking the high road on that,” he said. “But (I’m) disappointed … because that was a special group of guys—a really exciting, young team.”
Bay Area finished second to Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where they played as a guest team. They were scheduled for a another appearance in the new PBA season.