Hungry Jack's NBL
Why Dellavedova returned to the NBL
Melbourne United marquee signing Matthew Dellavedova has revealed the high standard and quality of the NBL was a key reason for his homecoming.
Dellavedova has signed a three-year deal with United, his first ever NBL contract. The 2016 NBA champion and Australian Boomers Olympic bronze medallist says the NBL’s standing as one of the world’s best basketball league’s outside of the NBA drew him to the league.
“The NBL has done a great job of promoting that pathway and continuing to build,” Dellavedova said via News Corp Australia.
“I think the NBL has always been a great league, it has just been really underrated around the world. Now it is getting the respect that it has deserved for a long time.
“A big part of that has been getting that Next Stars program going. Having LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey doing so well here and then going on to bigger things in the NBA helps.
“But then you’ve also got (RJ) Hampton, (Terrance) Ferguson, Jae’Sean Tate, Will Weaver, Trevor (Gleeson) and Jock (Landale), who should have been there for a while skill and ability wise.
“It was just different circumstances, but to go from having a great year in the NBL to a guaranteed two-year deal is awesome.
“I think that also shows the respect that people have for the league.”
Dellavedova admitted he did have interest from clubs across the world, but the NBL was where he wanted to be at this point in his career.
“There were some talks with NBA teams but nothing concrete. Overseas there was some pretty significant offers, but I’ve always wanted to come back and play here,” he said.
The Maryborough native also explained how seeing Andrew Bogut return to the NBL in 2018 – and then go back to the NBA with the Golden State Warriors – gave him inspiration that he can do the same thing.
“With Bogues coming back, he is so well known around the world and especially in the NBA, for him to come over to the NBL, do really well and then be able to go back and play a role in the NBA, I think just helped the league gain more respect,” Dellavedova said.
“Bogues is a bit of a trailblazer in that way, and I definitely looked at that.
“My goal is to get back to the NBA and play there. I feel like I have a lot more left in the tank and a lot of things to improve on. For right now, I’m excited to be playing for United.”
Dellavedova believes playing in the NBL will help prepare him for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where the Boomers will try to best their bronze medal with a silver or gold.
“I feel like I can get a lot better from where I was at in Tokyo. I just need to string a good chunk of time together,” he said.
“I think playing at United is the perfect. I’ve already been talking to the physio and the weights coach, and I’ve got a program set up.
“So, I’m very hungry and looking forward to having a good year.”
The 30-year-old has battled multiple injury concerns in recent years, having played just 106 of a possible 219 NBA games with the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past three seasons. This included suiting up in only 13 of Cleveland’s 72 games in the 2020/21 season.
Dellavedova wants to get back into the NBA and he knows putting together a strong block of consistent playing time with Melbourne will help him get there.
“I haven’t played a ton of minutes or games over the last year and a half and I think coming to United where I’m going to get the opportunity to play a lot of minutes, have the ball in my hands, and do a lot of reps, is something that firstly I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
“And I think it is going to be great for my development and I want to continue to get better and improve my game.
“To do that, you need to get reps and it helps if you have the ball in your hands and playing with United is going to give me that opportunity to make plays and try and get open looks for (Chris) Goulding and the other boys as well.
“I’m really excited to get started with United.
“I’ve been talking with Dean (Vickerman) and Goulding a fair bit and have got to know the United staff.
“I’m really looking forward to the season – it is going to be a fun year with (Brad) Newley, (David) Barlow and Goulding, who I have played with before.”