It couldn’t exactly be described as a buzzer-beater of a move, but it definitely is coming late in the game.
None of the principals would confirm it officially, but the St. John’s Edge are expected to reveal today they have signed Newfoundland basketball star Carl English.
The Edge, who begin their inaugural National Basketball League of Canada season in a matter of days, have called a press conference this morning at the Swilers Clubhouse in St. John’s to — as outlined in a Tuesday release from the team — “make an announcement.”
That was it, other than the added note that there would be “select player and coaching staff” availability.
As for English, when reached shortly after the Edge news release about the Swilers get-together, the 36-year-old Patrick’s Cove native didn’t offer comment other than to say that he would “touch base with you tomorrow morning.”
That’s when you can look for official confirmation of his hooking up with what amounts to a hometown team.
English’s signing has been anticipated since NBL Canada approved an expansion franchise for St. John’s this past summer. The club was looking to make a basketball footprint on a landscape that had been dominated by hockey and English was by far the province’s biggest name in the sport. And while the former U.S. college star and Canadian national team guard has carved out a successful career in Europe — he has played professionally overseas for more than a decade — English has acknowledged his playing career has reached what could be described the waning stages. In addition, he cited a lean towards family considerations; he and his wife, who is also from Newfoundland, have three young children, two of them school-aged.
But despite the mutual interest between team and player, and what seemed outwardly to be a logical linking — a “no-brainer,” was a common description — discussion and contemplation stretched for weeks out as the team and player looked to determine how English could fit into the team’s payroll structure and as to what exactly his role with the Edge would be.
English has routinely drawn six-figure annual salaries in European leagues and the Edge’s payroll for an entire season is just $170,000 for a 12-player roster.
However, it has been suggested that hurdle could at least be reduced in size by having English take on other duties with the organization, perhaps with regards to coaching, management and/or community relations.
Just how that issue was addressed should be among the revelations made this morning.
The announcement comes at the tail end of the Edge’s training camp (roster cuts have already begun) and only three days before the team plays its first-ever game Saturday in Charlottetown, P.E.I., against the Island Storm.
St. John’s first home game at Mile One Centre is on Dec. 1 against the Niagara River Lions.