Ex-Philadelphia 76ers forward joins NZ Breakers

Publish Date
Friday, 3 May 2024, 8:31AM

By Christopher Reive

For the New Zealand Breakers, signing Jonah Bolden ticks a lot of boxes.

The 28-year-old former NBA forward will join the Auckland club on a one-year deal for the 2024-25 NBL season, bringing experience and versatility to what is shaping up as a very competitive lineup.

“Jonah Bolden is one of the most experienced players in the league,” Breakers head coach Mody Maor said.

“He’s a connector, he’s a great decision-maker, a very good passer, he’s just going to get better and better with time progressing.”

Additionally, the Australian forward is among a rare selection of local former NBA players in the competition, meaning the Breakers still have two import spots available to them.

Bolden has played in 51 NBA regular season games across his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, and 10 playoffs appearances with the former. He has also spent time in the EuroLeague, NBA G-League, and in the NBL, while he has played for the Australian Boomers.

Last year, Bolden returned to the NBL as a questionable commodity after prematurely retiring at just 25 in 2020 when he was not re-signed after his first 10-day contract expired with the Suns.

However, he proved he was still an asset and will now bring his toolkit to Auckland as he looks to continue rebuilding his career on the court.

“I was surprised how good Jonah looked last season, having not played for three years. His shot was great, and his body looked good,” Maor said.

“With this versatility, the ability to shoot, the ability to put the ball on the floor, the ability to play in the post, I’m very much looking forward to unlocking all the things he can do.”

Maor said he thought the Breakers’ setup appealed to Bolden primarily because of its growing reputation within the basketball community as a place where players can transform their game.

“Regardless of whether the player is an import or local, everyone’s got better, everyone’s improved, and everybody’s made steps forward, and it’s something for which we are very proud,” he said.

It’s the sixth signing to be confirmed for the Breakers’ new-look 11-man squad. Import Parker Jackson-Cartwright will return for a second season in Auckland, with Maor building a team around the star point guard.

The clubs have also signed Kiwi-born shooting guard Mojave King, veteran Australian guard Mitch McCarron, Kiwi big man Sam Mennenga, and returning centre Dane Pineau. Another signing is expected to be announced next week.

Guards Izayah Le’afa and Will McDowell-White will not be returning to the club, however. Le’afa has signed a two-year deal with the Sydney Kings, while McDowell-White has reportedly signalled his intention to take his talents overseas.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you