The Adelaide 36ers have dumped import guard CJ Massingale in a move that has seemingly upset a growing number of the Australian basketball community. The term “scapegoat” is being thrown around and one has to wonder if CJ was given a reasonable chance to succeed in the “City of Churches”.
Averaging just nine minutes per game makes it hard for any player to produce his or her best, let alone an import looking to make his mark. It’s been a common conversation point among NBL fans this season that have seen Massingale’s minutes decline.
When Head Coach Marty Clarke was asked to comment on the firing he mentioned things like “CJ showed promise”, “he is an awesome guy” and that it was tough for Massingale because he was “a good catch-and-shooter” and that wasn’t so much required. What he failed to comment on was how an import scoring guard couldn’t get enough (catch and shoot) shots away in the current Adelaide offense he is in charge of.
Another thing not mentioned was the “Restricted Player Probation” clause in the NBL Standard Player Contract. (all imports are classed as “restricted”)
The key words here are “two months after the first regular season game”
It appears that the Adelaide 36ers decision to let CJ Massingale go was based more around financial strategy than a vindictive “scapegoat” act. By cutting Massingale now, the Sixers do not wear any contract payout penalties and can sign another player with the remainder of available funds.
When you consider that the decision was made exactly two months after the NBL season kicked off on October 5th, it seems pretty obvious.
Or perhaps this was pre-mediated? The plot thickens… and seemingly only Coach Clarke knows the true reason behind the move.
In a press release today the 36ers stated the following:
“We wish CJ and his family all the best for the future. This decision was not something that was taken lightly and we were guided by Marty’s recommendation”.
In an environment where coach Marty Clarke is under constant pressure and criticism, it seems crazy that the coach was left on an island to take responsibility for this move alone. A unified, upfront response from the club would have been far more appropriate.
Regardless, the 36ers move on to face Perth this weekend at home while Massingale contemplates his next move.
Here’s hoping he gets the required amount of opportunity in his next role to allow him to shine.