It’s been called “epic. The highly anticipated 2023 free agency period was filled with news that shocked fans on a daily basis. There were reunions that looked like something out of a basketball movie, as well as the formation of one of the greatest “superteams” in history.
This article was published in the June issue of Jump Ball, a magazine specializing in basketball, and reflects only the results of free agency.
IN_Yang Woo-seop, Choi Won-hyuk (re-signed), Oh Se-geun
OUT_Jun-yong Choi, Sung-won Choi
Retired_Jang Moon-ho, Jeon Jeon-joon
SK deserves an A+ for their resourcefulness in free agency. Despite losing key contributors Choi Jun-yong and Choi Sung-won, they managed to acquire the best big men in the KBL. SK added Oh Se-geun, who had haunted them in the championship game until early May, and built a team that could contend for the title again next season. Oh is now a veteran in his late 30s, but he’s still one of the best big men in the league. He wasn’t a compensated free agent, so there was no hemorrhaging cap space. Kim Sun-hyung, who was named Playoff MVP in the 2021-2022 season after leading the team to the championship game, is also healthy. Kim Sun-hyung and Oh Se-geun, who won the playoff MVP in each of the two seasons, will be playing on the same team. They are also the duo that led Chung-Ang University to a 52-game winning streak. With Choi holding down the fort as a backup, Oh has a fresh start with minimal pressure on his playing time. Ahn Young-joon will fill the void left by Choi Jun-yong, who has been a lubricant in the offense.
IN_Junyong Choi, Lee Ho-hyun
Despite being called the “big guns of the free agency market,” not many expected KCC to unleash a sack of money in 2023. KCC invested heavily in Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong last year to bolster their roster, which resulted in a 108.65% salary cap utilization rate. After seemingly pulling out of the free agency market by offering Lee Ho-hyun an above-market price for the No. 1 reinforcement, KCC created a whirlwind at the end of the free agency period. Shortly after SK’s signing of Oh Se-geun was officially announced, the team contacted Choi Jun-yong to bolster their roster. Choi only made 26 appearances last season, but when he was healthy, he proved his impact on the league. His versatility will be a big boost for KCC, who are still struggling at the top of the order. While the salary cap is saturated, KCC’s history of investing in their basketball team suggests that there will be no major bleeding. They already have Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong, Ragan-ah, Choi Jun-yong, and Song Kyo-chang, who is about to be discharged from the military. In name only, KCC has become one of the best ‘super teams’ in KBL history.
IN_Jung In-duk (re-signed), Yang Hong-seok
OUT_Kim Jun-il, Shin Min-soo
LG’s eyes were on one man. It was Yang Hong-seok, whom coach Cho Sang-hyun strongly requested at the end of the season to strengthen the forward lineup. Although his performance last season was below expectations, Yang is still a “young blood” who is only in his mid-20s. He’s already shown that he can be the centerpiece of a team, as he was named a top-five player twice in his debut. Hyundai Mobis also expressed interest, but LG made the big splurge to sign Yang as a boost to coach Cho Sang-hyun, who led the team to a runner-up finish in the regular season in his first season in charge. The signing of Yang Hong-seok is not only a good move for the present, but also for the future. The midfielder is scheduled for military service after the 2023-2024 season. After his military service, the team is ready to rebuild with Yang Hong-seok and Yang Jun-seok. In addition, Kim Jun-il was transferred, but the gap will be minimized by Park In-tae and Park Jung-hyun, who will be discharged from the military next season. LG also re-signed Jung In-duk, who has been doing the dirty work, to take some of the pressure off Yang Hong-seok. It remains to be seen who KT will name to compensate for Yang, but it was a successful offseason for LG in terms of balancing the roster.
IN_Han Hee-won (re-signed), Moon Sung-gon
Just as LG went all-in on Yang Hong-seok, KT went all-in on Moon Sung-gon. Along with Heo Hoon, Yang Hong-seok was expected to be the future of KT, but in the end, the team failed to win a championship. Seeing the need for a change, KT brought in Moon Sung-gon, a completely different type of player than Yang Hong-seok, to change the team’s colors. The logic of the market is that when there is competition, the price will naturally rise. Moon was also a priority for SK before they signed Oh Seong-geun. Despite paying more than expected, KT, which had failed to sign Dae-er several times in the past, paid a lot of money for Moon to avoid repeating the mistake. Since most of the main players are young and Heo Hoon’s salary does not count against the salary cap, the pressure on the salary cap was relatively less. With Heo Hoon, Moon Sung-gon, and Ha Yoon-ki, KT also retained backup power by re-signing Han Hee-won, who was highly sought after by many teams.
Goyang Day One_B-
IN_Kim Min-wook, Ham Jun-hoo
Kim Min-wook, in particular, was like a “sore finger” for Kim Seung-ki. Although he was traded due to internal circumstances during his time at KGC, Kim tried to bring him back several times afterward. While a trade didn’t work out, they reconnected through free agency. After playing in just five games last season – the fewest since his rookie year – Ham Jun-hoo was reunited with his former coach, Kim Seung-ki, who had been a paternal figure in his KGC days, and lit the final spark. In truth, it’s not so much about giving the team a grade for reinforcements in free agency. I’d like to see something happen to give them an A+ for their acquisition negotiations.
Ulsan Hyundai Mobis_B-
IN_Ham Ji-hoon, Choi Jin-soo, Kim Hyun-min (re-signed), Kim Jun-il
Cracking down on key internal free agent targets is a “half success”. The retention of veteran Ham Ji-hoon was never in doubt. He’s effectively declared himself a Hyundai Mobisman for life, leaving him as the franchise star behind Yang Dong-geun. Defense at the end of last season 토토사이트