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Kings' Bogut delivers rocket to NBL admin

Andrew Bogut has blasted the NBL hierarchy for their lack of communication with players and "retroactive" management that led to the Kings' grand final series against Perth being cancelled and awarded to the Wildcats with two games to play.

Perth, who led the series 2-1 ahead of Friday's scheduled fourth game, were awarded the title on Thursday in extraordinary circumstances as sports grapple with the coronavirus crisis.

Kings centre Bogut said he had no issue with that decision but slammed the league for not leading the process, saying players were "used like pawns".

"It's hugely disappointing for any professional athlete to make the decision we had made," Bogut said.

"To me, what's more disappointing is how the NBL have handled this. That's got nothing to do with Perth, I've got no issues with all that.

"The retroactive aspect of this (from the NBL) has been 10 out of 10. The proactive was barely one (out of 10), the reactive stuff is probably about five."

Bogut says there was no contingency plans or scenarios planned out by the league, and that players were treated as "an afterthought".

"It took us to initiate these meetings, to push these meetings, to find out if there was going to be a crowd. Our front office had to call Perth and the league to find out what was going on."

The Boomers star revealed Kings players broke down in tears during a three-hour meeting, and says a number of players are struggling mentally with the situation.

Discussing the social responsibilities of athletes, Bogut says that as it stands, he would not compete in the Tokyo Olympics with the Boomers.

He also described the decisions by the AFL and the NRL to continue matches behind closed doors as "questionable".

"The thing that I laugh about at the AFL is that everything to do with something social, they're involved with. This is a prime example, yet they have 100-plus people travelling around Australia, playing games. The NRL is the same."

Bogut also backed Paul Smith after the Kings owner claimed both NBL owner Larry Kestelman and the Wildcats reneged on an agreement that neither club was to have the championship without completing the five-game series.

"I wasn't involved, but I trust Paul Smith and Chris Pongrass. I've no reason to believe they lied."

The NBL responded to these comments via a statement released on Friday afternoon.

"At no stage during discussions with the teams was there any agreement between the teams and the NBL to not award the championship should the series be unable to be completed. However, the NBL did make it clear we would immediately cancel the series should a player test positive for coronavirus", it read.

"We continued to monitor the situation closely and NBL executives and staff were in attendance at all games during the Grand Final series to help manage and lend support.

"As already stated, on Tuesday this week Sydney informed us it would not play the remaining games of the series. We fully respected this decision and after further consultation with the Australian Basketball Players' Association we immediately cancelled the remaining games of the series.

"We then undertook the exercise of determining, pursuant to our rules, whether the championship should be awarded and if so, to whom. The rules led us to conclude that the championship should be awarded to the Perth Wildcats.

"The health and wellbeing of the players has always been our number one priority. Our decisions were guided by the advice of the relevant Australian government authorities and also our own medical officers.

"Australia and the rest of world is in the midst of a global pandemic affecting us all in different ways. As important as sport is to us in our lives, there are far more important issues to consider right now."