Kai Sotto signs multi-year deal with NBL's Adelaide 36ers

The 18-year-old Filipino prospect and former NBA G League Ignite player will join the Australian team for the 2021-22 season.

By Will Imbo

Filipino basketball star and NBA prospect Kai Sotto has signed a multi-year deal with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).

Sotto's deal is as a Special Restricted Player - a two-year deal, with an option for a third, according to ESPN's Olgun Uluc.

NBL Commissioner welcomes Kai Sotto

Sotto, a 2.18m (7’2) center from the Philippines, became the first international player to sign a contract with the G League in May 2020. However, the 18-year-old left the Ignite in February 2021 in order to suit up for the Philippine national team in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

The Philippines will compete in the men’s Olympic basketball qualification tournament in Serbia in June 2021, with the winner of the tournament securing one of the final four places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021.

"We are delighted to welcome Kai to the NBL to play with the Adelaide 36ers," NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.

"The NBL is one of the best leagues in the world and a great league to develop players like Kai Sotto who want to take their game to the next level by playing alongside seasoned professional players in a super competitive league."

Adelaide 36ers General Manager of Basketball Jeff Van Groningen continued, “Kai realises that he has work ahead of him as all rookies do when coming in to this tough league, but his combination of height and developing skill-set give him every chance to raise his game. With hard work, his ceiling for growth is very high."

Kai Sotto's NBA Draft eligibility

Prior to Sotto joining the NBL, he had been rumoured to enter the 2021 NBA Draft - but due to an NBA rule that requires players to be one year removed from high school, he was ineligible to enter the draft (Sotto will be eligible for the NBA Draft in 2022).