The time of choice is approaching. What choices will KCC and SK make?
Choi Jun-yong, who moved to Jeonju KCC through free agency, was paid 550 million won last season. Along with Lee Kwan-hee and Lee Dae-sung, he was tied for eighth on the list of players who are subject to compensation upon transfer.
As a result, Seoul SK must receive either 200% of last season’s salary (1.1 billion won) or 50% of last season’s salary (275 million won) plus compensated players from KCC. KCC must submit a list of protected players by 6 p.m. on June 26, and SK must make a selection by 6 p.m. on June 28.메이저놀이터
The compensation player can only be named from among the four players KCC has designated as protected players, excluding rookies. However, free agents Choi Jun-yong and Lee Ho-hyun must also be included in the list of protected players to avoid losing them. This is where KCC’s dilemma begins. Who should they keep?
Considering their importance to the team, age, and impact on the league, it’s easy to pick four players. Lee Seung-hyun, Heo Woong, Song Kyo-chang, and Choi Jun-yong. Based on their skills alone, this would be an uncontroversial list of protected players.
This would free up KCC’s captain, starter, and sixth man, Jung Chang-young. Jung started all 54 games last season, averaging 8.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He’s a resource whose value can’t be measured solely by his scoring, but it was a career-high nonetheless. Add in his impact on and off the court, and he’s a resource that KCC can’t afford to lose.
His salary last season was 250 million won. While KCC finished sixth in the regular season, his individual numbers are impressive. Lee Geun-hwi, Kim Sang-kyu, and Jeon Jun-beom are other players who could be considered for compensation.
Given that SK’s salary cap is likely to be saturated, they could strategically build a roster of protected players, but this is risky. KCC, in particular, has experienced the fallout. In 2007, KCC acquired Seo Jang-hoon and Lim Jae-hyun in the free agency market at the same time, and had three protected players at the time. After much deliberation, KCC combined Seo Jang-hoon, Choo Seung-gyun, and Lim Jae-hyun.
For Seo Jang-hoon’s original team, Seoul Samsung, Lee Sang-min, who was not a protected player, was too good to pass up. Even though his playing time was gradually decreasing, he was still one of the most skilled point guards in the league. He was also a star with overwhelming ticketing power. Samsung chose Lee without much thought, and KCC had to deal with the criticism from fans that they “couldn’t keep their star” for a while.
It’s a tough call for SK, too. Even if a talented player is removed from the protected list, they can’t just pick him up. The salary cap is a concern. SK had a salary cap depletion rate of 110% last season. The salary cap was raised from 2.6 billion won to 2.8 billion won, and although Choi Jun-yong was released, free agent Oh Se-geun was paid 750 million won. The salary hike is in addition to the salary increase for Kim Sun-hyung and other key players who finished as runners-up in the Champions League under difficult conditions.
A KCC official said, “We will go with the formula” when asked about the strategy of building a protected roster. This means that there is a very high chance that the four main players mentioned above will be retained.
“We’re leaning towards cash (200%), but if an unexpected player is released, we may opt for it. First, we need to look at the salary cap situation. Since we finished runner-up, most of the main players will definitely get a raise. Of course, if an A-level player is released, we may utilize him in other ways after nominating him,” he said cautiously.