JEROME Randle, the NBL's reigning MVP, won't be returning to the league after the Adelaide 36ers chose not to make an offer, sources told foxsports.com.au.
Despite promises from the 36ers' new ownership, as well as general manager Guy Hedderwick, that the team would enter renegotiations with Randle, they never took place, sources said.
Randle, 29, received offers from several other NBL teams, but none had the budget required to sign the point guard, who had already taken under his market value to remain with the 36ers for the 2016-17 season, multiple sources said.
Randle also held on to the sentiment that he would never sign with an NBL team outside of the 36ers, meaning his time in the league is effectively over.
It's a surprising move for a 36ers franchise that was able to re-sign head coach Joey Wright to a five-year deal, and retain its entire Australian contingent, but is coming off a league-best 17-11 record with Randle at the helm, before the team bowed out of the playoffs in the semi-finals.
Randle, who's currently playing with French side Limoges CSP, averaged 21.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in 31 games for the 36ers during the 2016-17 NBL season, and was consistently marketed as the "face" of the league.
Throughout his two-season stint with the 36ers, Randle became a fan-favourite in Adelaide - regularly holding camps and clinics for children in the city - and, at the conclusion of the 2016-17 regular season, was named the league's Most Valuable Player in a February ceremony.
During the 2015-16 season, Randle became the first player in the NBL's 40-minute era to average 20 or more points and five or more assists per game over a season, and repeated that feat the following year.
With the NBL no longer an option for the 5'9 guard, he'll look at Europe as an option, as well as potential opportunities at NBA training camp, sources said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.