London Lions have signed NBA veteran DeAndre Liggins.

The 32-year-old American is an expensive statement of intent from the club’s new owners as the British Basketball League outfit prepare for their European debut in September’s opening qualifying round of the FIBA Basketball Champions League.

Liggins, expected to play at small forward, split last season between Spanish ACB outfit Fuenlabarada, where he had a low-key five-game spell, and a pre-lockdown cup of tea at Greek side Panionios.

But he started in the NBA as recently as 2018 during a half-season at the New Orleans Pelicans, the seventh team in the league for whom he has featured.

A second round draftee out of Kentucky in 2011, the Chicago native spent his rookie year with the Orlando Magic. Aside from overseas jaunts to Russia and Germany, there were stops of varying lengths in Oklahoma City, Miami, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee and New Orleans with a rehabilitation of his reputation required following a domestic abuse incident.

With the Cavs in 2016-17, he made 19 starts in 61 appearances, averaging 2.4 points per game. ““He picks up 96 feet – and the court is only 94,” praised then-team mate LeBron James. “That’s what he does.”

He also won the NBA G-League title in 2016 while with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and was named an All Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three years in the developmental league.

Now, London’s calling.

“I’m very excited to join such a winning and upcoming organisation,” he said. “My competitive edge and winning mentality will certainly be effective immediately.”

Elsewhere, Sheffield Sharks have re-signed UK forward Rob Marsden, his fourth season at the club. While Bristol Flyers have re-signed American forward Marcus Delpeche.


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