Photo Courtesy of Spin.ph

Kai Sotto, the 20-year-old basketball star from the Philippines seems to have thrown his NBA Summer League options out of the window. Moreover, his chance at joining his fellow countrymen in the Philippine Men’s National Team (Gilas Pilipinas) to play for the FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers is getting slimmer as the rosters are already lined up for practice.

However, his NBA hopes aren’t over as he can still reprise his role as a solid backup Center for the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League in Australia. With that being said, is Kai Sotto really going back to NBL?

Contents of this article are as follows:

  • Kai Sotto Back in the NBL?
  • Sotto opts out of the NBA Summer League
  • The Phillipine Nationa Team, Gilas Pilipinas final roster
  • Spiel Times Take on Kai Sotto Returning to the NBL

Kai Sotto Back in the NBL?

To those who do not know, Kai still has two years left in his contract with the Adelaide 36ers, with his third year being a team option.

Image Courtesy of spatialjam.com

According to rumors, Kai Sotto is expected to return to the NBL after going undrafted in the 2022 NBA draft. In the image below from aussiehoopla.com, Kai is expected to resume his stint with the 36ers for the 2022-2023 season. What’s more interesting is, if this signing pushes through, Kai will be the focus big man of the team since Cam Bairstow (Forward) and Isaac Humphries (Forward/Center) are both expected to part ways with Adelaide.

This means Sotto could get a lot of playing time and touches to the ball as the main man in the paint. To add, with his extensive training and workouts with various NBA teams before the draft, Sotto might have improved his play a bit. As a result, he could also take charge as the new offensive juggernaut for the 36ers. That is if he developed and removed his weaknesses.

Image Courtesy of aussiehoopla.com

During his first year with the 36ers, Kai Sotto put up decent numbers for a guy of his size. Below are his 2021-2022 season averages:

  • 7.5 Points per game
  • .5 Assists per game
  • 4.5 Rebounds per game
  • .8 Blocks per game
  • 50% FG
  • 39% 3-Point FG
  • 15 Minutes of playing time
Related: Why Kai Sotto Went Undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft

Sotto opts out of the NBA Summer League

Kai Sotto Kings Workout, Photo Courtesy of sports.inquirer.net

Last month, Sotto’s agent, Joel Bell, announced that Kai Sotto will not be playing in the 2022 Summer League nor will he take part in any two-way contract with any NBA team even if he gets the offer. Although Kai contradicted that previous statement by saying his agent “misspoke” and that their next step is yet to be decided. But, since the Summer League has already started and teams are already full, the previous announcement may have superseded Sotto’s statement.

Meanwhile, a former coach in a basketball team in the Philippines, Tim Cone, is joining the Miami Heat as part of the Heat’s Summer League squad coaching staff. The winningest coach in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) history is making a move towards an NBA coaching stint, similar to another PBA legend, Jimmy Alapag.

Recently, the Filipinos suffered devastating and heartbreaking news after not hearing Sotto’s name in the draft. Meanwhile, fans and other coaches are thinking that the best path to the NBA for the 20-year-old was in the Summer League. While the summer league is where most undrafted players try to showcase their talent, Kai Sotto’s camp thinks it is better if he goes a different path.

Related: LAKERS Should Sign Kai Sotto – Here’s Why

The Philippine National Team, Gilas Pilipinas final roster

Kai Sotto vs Ricardo Ratcliffe (2021), Photo Courtesy of GMA Network

According to the Gilas Pilipinas head coach, Chot Reyes, it is “highly unlikely” that they can add the 7-foot-3 Sotto into their current pool of players.

“He has decided to do some other thing and forego the FIBA Asia Cup,” Reyes said during an interview. “We’re still hoping, but to be very honest, it is unlikely.”

The National team is looking to add size and length to their roster, which Kai could successfully fill. Though playing in his home team was previously what he desired to do, we probably won’t be seeing him in the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers

Sotto previously played for Gilas back in 2019 during FIBA Under-19 World Cup. In that tournament, he averaged 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks in 7 games played.


Spiel Times Take on Kai Sotto Returning to the NBL

At a very young age, Kai still has a lot of time ahead of him for his professional basketball career.

First, he can go back to playing in the G-League, which is another great way to be exposed to the grit and grind of the NBA. Plus, by playing there, he may get to be more known by NBA scouts. As we all remember, this wouldn’t be the first time Sotto will play for a team in the G-League as he already played for the G-League Ignite. He even had interactions with Jeremy Lin who had huge praises for the young big man.

Second, if he decides to go back to the NBL, he should expect the same treatment regardless of who the coach or his teammates are. However, he has a lot of time to improve his body as well as skills to be a more complete player in the league. Previously, in one of our articles, we talked about why Kai Sotto went undrafted in this year’s NBA draft. One of which was due to his slow lateral movement. While there are a lot of great things about Kai, especially his shooting and defense, he still has a lot to improve. Hopefully, he gets to shine in the NBL this time around.

Related: NBA Update: What’s Next For Kai Sotto?

Do you think this is the best move for Kai Sotto? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

OTHER NEWS: Kai Sotto V.S. Chet Holmgren, Player Comparison

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