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Kings can win NBL crown: Gaze

Former teammates have been hired as assistants to rookie Sydney Kings NBL coach Andrew Gaze.
Kings can win NBL title: Gaze
Photo Source: AAP

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Rookie coach Andrew Gaze believes the Sydney Kings can defy six straight seasons of failure and emerge as a genuine contender for the NBL title.

The royal purple reclaimed the tag as violet crumbles last season after plummeting to last place, continuing a streak of six campaigns without a post-season appearance.

However under the guidance of a new owner, new coach, and new home, the Kings are promising new hope when their season kicks off against Brisbane on Saturday.

The franchise launched their campaign in style on Thursday by unveiling the biggest indoor jumbotron in the southern hemisphere at Qudos Bank Arena in Homebush.

"We're fortunate that under new ownership, the facilities we have and the resources we have, are as good as any in the competition," Gaze said.

"So we can't offer up too many excuses because we've been privileged with the environment that's been created for us."

The Australian basketball icon will be under pressure to deliver immediate results with a star-studded roster that includes current and former Boomers in Kevin Lisch and Brad Newley.

The experienced Julian Khazzouh and Aleks Maric were expected to form an intimidating front court, however a quad injury has kept Khazzouh out of their pre-season.

He is set to re-join the squad within three weeks, however Gaze hinted at the likelihood of adding a replacement player on a short-term deal.

The Kings also have one import spot left open.

"We've intentionally kept that roster spot open on the basis that we were unaware of where Julian was at," Gaze said.

"He's such an important piece to what we do. If he's not going to be there for an extended period of time, then we would've had to make a change.

"His rehabilitation of the quad, a nasty injury that he did have is coming along nicely, it's taken a little longer than what he would've hoped, and what we would've hoped.

"We're now at a point where hopefully in the next couple of days, maybe a week, we'll be able to make an announcement about an additional player that we can bring to the line-up."

For now, the Kings rely on a combination of Lisch, Newley, Jason Cadee and imports Greg Whittington and Michael Bryson to finally bring the city some wins this summer.

"We absolutely make no qualms about the fact that our goal is to win the NBL title," he said.

"Hopefully we can do it this season but if not, over the next period of time, we can put together a program that can attract players, that gets the fanbase and sponsorship base, that gives us a chance not just to win it one year, but to be consistently contending for a title."

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