Basketball: NZ NBL stung by mass team exodus

When the revised National Basketball League tips off next month, it will be without three of last year's top four teams.

Defending champions the Wellington Saints, the Southland Sharks and Hawke's Bay Hawks have all pulled out of this year's league.

Saints director of basketball operations Jordan Mills cited the significant drop in pay and concerns around player welfare as the primary reasons behind the team's withdrawal.

"As I said before, we're a players oriented club, and our players don't like it," Mills told Newshub.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson is more optimistic.

"We're going to have basketball on five nights a week," Nelson said. 

"The NZ NBL could be the only basketball league being played anywhere around the world."

While the Sharks and Hawkes Bay have also pulled out, both clubs told Newshub that they are supportive of the league's move to proceed. 

They're also confident that the Tall Blacks who were meant to be on their books - including Hyrum Harris, Tom Vodanovich and Jarrod Kenny - will make themselves available to be drafted by other clubs.

But the Saints have a different view, with Mills confirming their national representatives - including Jordan Ngatai, Finn Delaney, and Tom Abercrombie - won't compete for other teams.

"They're not going to compete in the proposed league.

More information is expected on the competing teams, players and location when the new look league is unveiled on Tuesday.

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