Newfoundland pro basketball player Carl English signed by St. John's Edge
After a professional basketball career spanning 14 years in cities around the world, Carl English is considering a move home.
The 36-year-old, who grew up in Placentia Bay, confirmed to CBC News Tuesday he is in contract negotiations with the St. John's Edge.
While he has some reservations about joining an expansion team, English is tempted by the chance to move home to Newfoundland.
"It's 50-50 right now," he told Here & Now's Debbie Cooper. "I still have some options overseas, but it's very intriguing to play at home. It would be very amazing for my family and my friends, and my kids especially. It has a special place in my heart."
English split last season between Iberostar Tenerife, a team in Spain's premier league, and Alba Berlin, in Germany's top league.
In Germany, English was playing in front of at least 12,000 fans every night.
The thought of going from established teams in elite leagues to playing for a brand new franchise of the National Basketball League of Canada is worrying.
"It's a big fear for me," he said. "There's so much uncertainty."
There is also the issue of compensation. Teams in the NBL Canada operate under a $150,000 salary cap — that's for the whole team.
Even in the twilight of his career, English could fetch six-figures in Europe, meaning his salary alone could rival that of the entire St. John's Edge.
Role off the court
But English said if he signed with St. John's, there would be ways to get around the money issues.
"I think if I'm involved, I'm involved in many ways," he said. "I wouldn't just be involved as a player."
While it's possible he could also work in a coaching or management role, English would like to serve as an ambassador for the team in communities around the province.
"For this team to be successful, it has to be Newfoundland's team," he said. "You've got to be out in the community, you've got to be 100 percent involved, you have to be going to the schools and getting kids involved … You have to spread basketball throughout the province."
The St. John's Edge will tip off on Nov. 18 against the Island Storm in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The team will make its home debut at Mile One Stadium on Dec. 1.
English expects to make a decision before the start of the season, but said he is also fielding offers from teams in Europe.
"They've got a few weeks before they start, so I guess if the right thing comes along and we can come to an agreement, then it will be announced. If not, I have to consider some of these options I have in Greece and Spain as well."