Mody Maor leaves Breakers, JackJumpers lock in import

Ethan James and Jasper BruceAAP
Breakers head coach Mody Maor (c) has left the franchise and expected to take up a role in Japan. (Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconBreakers head coach Mody Maor (c) has left the franchise and expected to take up a role in Japan. (Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Mody Maor has left the New Zealand Breakers and is expected to take a coaching job in Japan.

The Breakers granted Maor a release from the final year of his contract and have now been left to find a new head coach with their roster for the 2024/25 campaign only partly assembled.

"I have spoken to all the players, and they are confident, as I am, that management will put an incredible coach in place," Maor said in a club statement.

"To our fans, I am forever grateful for your love and support; we have shared some of the most memorable moments of my life together."

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Reports have linked Maor with a move to Nagasaki Velca in the B.League, the Japanese basketball competition with which the NBL announced a partnership in January.

In two seasons at the helm, Maor oversaw the Breakers' resurgence after two dire seasons of results during the COVID pandemic.

The 38-year-old guided the Kiwi side to the 2022/23 championship series, which they lost in five games to the heavily favoured Sydney Kings.

His second season in charge was thwarted by a string of injuries, but the side nevertheless made it to the second week of the finals before bowing out with a loss to big improvers Illawarra.

Gun import Parker Jackson-Cartwright is committed to returning for next season, with former Next Star Mojave King returning to the NBL with the Breakers following a spell in the NBA G League.

The club has also added former NBA big Jonah Bolden from the Kings and veteran guard Mitch McCarron, though lost talismanic local Will McDowell-White to German side Alba Berlin.

Chief executive Lisa Edser was confident of finding a strong replacement for Maor.

"The Breakers is one of the most coveted coaching jobs outside the NBA," she said.

"There are many great candidates, and we will take the time we have to identify the right person to lead the team forward to give us the best opportunity to win the championship next season."

Elsewhere, reigning NBL champions Tasmania have locked in a key member of their squad, with game-five star Jordan Crawford inking a one-year deal.

American import Crawford scored 32 points in the 2023/24 championship-deciding fixture as the JackJumpers claimed their maiden title.

The 33-year-old guard announced on Thursday he would play a second season at the franchise.

"I loved Tasmania. Obviously winning the championship was incredible, but the fans made it so much more enjoyable," he said.

"(After) all the hard work put in by everyone in the club, the guys, coaches, and our admin staff, it was an easy choice to want to come back."

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