East Asia Super League (EASL) and the P. LEAGUE+ have announced that the New Taipei Kings will join the 2023-24 EASL season.
The Kings enter Group B, playing against Korean Basketball League (KBL) runners-up Seoul SK Knights, Japan B.LEAGUE champions Ryukyu Golden Kings, and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup runners-up Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
EASL CEO Matt Beyer said, “EASL is ecstatic to welcome the New Taipei Kings to our inaugural home-and-away season and to grow our partnership with the P.LEAGUE+. We look forward to bringing top Japan B.LEAGUE, Korea Basketball League (KBL) and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams to New Taipei in front of the Kings’ sellout crowds.”
The New Taipei Kings took second place in the 2022-23 P.LEAGUE+ season, hosting a series of electrifying, sold-out games in the Finals series. They boast Joseph Lin and Byron Mullens among a stacked roster coached by Ryan Marchand.
New Taipei Kings owner Phil Chen said, “The New Taipei Kings are focused on building a tradition of excellence and part of that is playing in the toughest competition available to us. We’re very excited to join EASL in the upcoming season to face off against the top professional teams from around the region.”
Matt Beyer, P. LEAGUE+ founder Charles Chen, and the entire EASL and P. LEAGUE+ upper management have been in long-term discussions about increasing the presence of P. LEAGUE+ in EASL. The addition of the New Taipei Kings in 2023-24 significantly expands EASL’s reach and market in Chinese Taipei.
With the 2023-24 season approaching fast, EASL has also taken a significant decision to increase its focus on its core competency, which is running a league and maximizing its use of resources to make the league as dynamic and as electrifying as possible, as well as commercially successful.
Following consultation with stakeholders regarding conflict-of-interest issues due to running both a league and owning a team, EASL management has decided to immediately cease the operations of the Bay Area Dragons team and has offered all players and coaches a generous termination package. Head Coach Brian Goorjian will stay with EASL as a league ambassador during the term of his contract. The P. LEAGUE+ New Taipei Kings will replace the Bay Area Dragons for the upcoming season.
Matt Beyer said, “We thank the Bay Area Dragons and the Philippine Basketball Association, and its leadership, for an excellent season during their 2022-23 campaign, which included reaching the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Finals game seven, played in front of a record-breaking 55,000 people, and taking third place in the first season of EASL at EASL Champions Week.”
New Taipei Kings - Players to Watch
Joseph Lin – Guard
The brother of NBA superstar Jeremy Lin has proven his own quality. Lin started his career with the Taipei Fubon Braves, from 2015 to 2021. During this time, he also played in EASL forerunner tournament the Super 8.
After signing with New Taipei Kings last year, Lin hada great debut season, averaging career-highs in games played, minutes, assists, rebounds and points. He helped the Kings get to the Finals, ultimately going down against his former team.
Byron Mullens – Center
The 7-foot center from the US played five seasons in the NBA, suiting up for Oklahoma City Thunder, Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.
Well-travelled Mullens had stints in China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Great Britain before landing in Chinese Taipei in April 2022.
He was the Kings’ leading scorer last season, averaging 20.5 points and 14.7 rebounds in 39 games, including a 44-point, 24-rebound burst in one game against the Lioneers.
Kenny Manigault – Forward
Manigault was the Kings’ second-leading scorer last season, averaging 18.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 41 games. After turning pro in 2016, he had stints in Australia, Poland, Macau, Israel, Canada and Finland, before signing with New Taipei in October 2022.
He was the first-ever P. LEAGUE+ player to record a quadruple-double, posting a line of 22 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 steals against the Dreamers in March. He was also just the twelfth player in professional basketball history to achieve the feat.