Contract up soon for Snakes’ coach of the year
Mike Kelly is a basketball coach in a unique situation.
Over the past week, the second-year Snakes mentor has lifted his club into the finals and won the coach of the year trophy in a landslide.
But, if his club are sent packing by the Perth Wildcats in a few weeks time, the smiling Kelly has no certainty around his coaching future, with his two-year contract set to expire at the end of the 2019-20 NBL campaign.
All season, the 52-year-old has said negotiations between he and the club are positive.
But, it does present a curious circumstance: arguably the best coach in the NBL right now is not locked up into season 2020-21 and beyond.
Kelly, who was 26 votes clear in voting for the Lindsay Gaze Trophy - Coach of the Year ahead of Sydney's Will Weaver, is not too fussed about his potential future deal with a semi-final just around the corner.
"I am not going to talk about contract stuff … I love it here and everything is going great with the club," Kelly said following training on Wednesday.
"Everything is looking great for myself and the club.
"I appreciate everything that we have been through as a club and for me it has been a great learning experience and a great way to come out at the end of the regular season, winning the award.
"It is all positive right now."
Stretch forward Majok Deng missed training on Wednesday morning with the flu.
With Deng not at the session, local training player Mason Khalu saw game time in the scrimmage to finish practice.
The young combo-guard did not look out of place playing against the professional Snakes roster.
Meanwhile, the total attendance for the 2019-20 NBL regular season increased by 21 per cent, with all clubs enjoying bigger crowds as the league continues to grow.
The Cairns Taipans had 61,917 fans attend games at the Cairns Convention Centre, a two per cent increase on last season as they rose from bottom of the ladder to the finals.